Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bob Hope - Like Zombies

I was watching an old Bob Hope movie tonight called The Ghost Breakers from 1940 when I heard this.  I laughed so hard!

Eldersburg Royal Farm - Customer Service Fail

I have been to the Eldersburg Royal Farms three times now.  You would expect service to have a few hitches when a new establishment opens.  Unfortunately for Royal Farms, the service is getting worse.

I took my kids there a couple of weeks ago as we had a few "free" coupons.  We got a free Icee, a free soda, and a free small order of western fries.  Let me tell you, those western fries were fantastic!  My kids instantly determined that Royal Farms was their favorite place to get food.

We went there a second time to get some more fries as a treat after fishing at Piney Run Park.  I placed the order, then waited.  There was another man in front of me and we stood knowingly near the counter.  We waited.  Then we waited some more.  I started to take note of the actions of the kids working behind the counter.  The girl making subs took time to check her cellphone and text someone.  Another person was moving large pans from one area to another.  A girl and a guy were talking and flirting and laughing.  Lots of talking and laughing.  They were certainly enjoying each other's company.  I looked around and everyone else in the store seemed to be busy.  Maybe they were waiting for the food to finish cooking.  But wait, there were fries in the pan in the heating tray.

The girl eventually put some food in a box and placed it on the counter.   Not for the customer to have, but just behind the glass.  Then she put another box back there.  She wrote 215 on it.  I then checked my receipt and it is also 215.  She didn't call my name.  Nor did she scoot the box forward so that I could take it myself.

The girl went about flirting some more and moving some pans from here to there, oblivious to the customers.  Finally the man in front of me reached across the counter and grabbed the box, opened it and realized it was his order and took it.  The kids made no effort to assist, nor took notice.  I gave up, boosted myself up to make a long reach across the counter and grabbed my western fries.  I mentioned to the cashier that there needed to be less goofing off and more customer service back there.  She acknowledged my concern and went to tell the manager.

Today, we returned to Royal Farms and it was fairly crowded.  I placed my order, and then moved about to waste some time.  After about 10 minutes I wondered back to the front and started to actively take notice of what was going on.  An order was assembled, and when that was complete, the employee called out the number, then began working on the next order.  And so on and so on.  The problem is that some of the orders required more food to be cooked or prepared, so the assembler would stand and wait for the food to be finish.

I haven't worked in the food industry in 20 years since back when I was a shift supervisor at the Bel Air Burger King.  The Royal Farms employees were completing the orders consecutively.  There is no drive-thru.  There is no need to complete the orders consecutively.  They can be done concurrently.  If one order is missing an item and it is cooking, then start making the next order!

I stood there for 20 minutes (I checked my phone and compared it to the timestamp on the receipt when we got the fries).

To make matters worse, look at this.  As chicken and fries were completed, they sat on a tray that was not under the heating counter.  Meanwhile, the trays in the heating station are nearly empty.  And if you've worked in the food industry, you'll know that this much mess in the pan is from several hours of rotation.  These need to be cleaned.  This is unacceptable.  To make matters worse, the pants of one of the girls was falling down exposing her extra-large sized thong.  Who wants to look at that?  Tuck in your damn shirt!

It's obvious that the talent at Royal Farms is still young and inexperienced and that the processes are either unknown or not followed.  This place is not yet ready for the big-time fast-paced world of the bustling town of Eldersburg.  I think I will give Royal Farms a few more months before I go back.  Perhaps they'll figure out how to get it right by the end of the summer.  Because they certainly don't know how to do it correctly right now.

Here is a tray of chicken and fries atop of other empty trays.  They are not in the heating station.  Just sitting there on top of each other.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

On This Day During the Civil War....

This is one of my favorite posts that I wrote years ago. It was written in 2008.  It's hard to believe that I've been writing this blog that long.

Anyway, check it out.  It's a good read.  Especially if you like the Civil War.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Carl Stokes Hates Baltimore City Police?

Failed mayoral candidate and current Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes ain't getting much respect from law enforcement these days.  As I mentioned previously, Baltimore is in the midst of one of the most puzzling crime-sprees since the riots of 1968.  To make matters worse, Carl Stokes implied that part of the reason for the increase in crime are the corrupt police.

I have no idea if there is corruption in the police department.  If I had to base my opinion on The Wire, then the Baltimore City Police department is rampant with corruption.  But The Wire was fiction, right?  Or was it?

Unless what he said is true, his statement does him no favors.  I would think that politicians in Baltimore, or any city for that matter, of any persuasion need the support and endorsements of the police.  But Stokes has always been a "ready, shoot, aim" kind of guy.  He'll never climb higher on the political ladder than City Councilman.  And at this point, I think he'd be lucky to keep that title after the next election.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Criminals - 28 Baltimore City Police - 0

If I'm not mistaken, there have been 28 shootings and 9 murders in Baltimore since Friday.  Can anyone refute the appropriateness of the nickname 'Bodymore, Murderland'?  One has to ask, 'what the hell is going on in the city?'

It's no secret that Baltimore is the King of Murder on the East Coast.  The city always ranks in the top 5 of the most dangerous cities in the United States.  The city is and has been torn apart with drugs, prostitution, fatherless families, parents that don't give a sheet of paper about their children, politicians that are more interested in votes and turn a blind eye to crime until it starts making the news, a bureaucracy that's more interested in money for projects than results, and an incongruous transportation infrastructure system that rivals Rochester, New York and Knoxville, Tennessee.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, while not known to be committing murders, unlike former New England Patriot's tight-end Aaron Hernandez, says that the shootings are a sad state of affairs in the city and blames the violence on a pipeline of guns rather than the criminal mentality of the city's residents.  I suspect this increase in shootings will spur a renewed effort to further restrict gun rights, despite the probability that hundreds of existing laws were broken in these crimes since Friday.  If convicted of the crimes they broke, they'd be in jail for the rest of their lives; yet in all likelihood, they'll be back on the streets before the end of the year.

So what is the reason for the recent "spike" in crime?  It is often argued that hot weather causes an increase in crime.  So do full moons, and if you'll recall we had our supermoon this past weekend and it's been hot, so maybe supermoons cause supercrime.  Perhaps the blame lies squarely on the slumping Baltimore Orioles; Orioles lose, someone gets shot.  Maybe the anger hit a melting point with the recent proposal to increase the water rate in the city and spilled boiling violence into the streets.  Could it be that school has ended and there's nothing to do but shoot each other?

My father once said that Baltimore City needs more guns so that the criminals can shoot each other, with the point that eventually the criminals will die out.  Initially intriguing, despite being grossly politically incorrect, his argument was also flawed.  I think that the violence committed by thugs initially will cause the victims to turn to crime as retribution, thus creating more criminals and more crime.  It doesn't help that our media celebrates and glorifies the violent thugs of our society.

Is this going to be a summer of death in Baltimore?  What is the reason for the recent uptick in crime in Baltimore City?  What are your thoughts?

Friday, June 21, 2013

If Martin O'Malley Taxed the Sunlight....

Today, June 21st, is the longest day of the year.  If Martin O'Malley was able to tax the sunlight just like he taxes the rain, then today would be the largest sun-tax revenue day of the year.  There is approximately 14 hours and 54 minutes of sunlight in the Maryland area today.

I hope the unintended consequence of this blog post isn't that it gives Gov Marty the idea to do just that.  But would there be a tax on cloudy or rainy days?  I'm sure there's a bureaucrat in Annapolis already working on this.

It's all shorter days from here.  Happy Summer!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Not Closed in Eldersburg - Roma's

After what I thought was a closed restaurant apparently was a temporary time-out.  Despite the sign being covered and the menu board being empty, Roma's is still open.  Perhaps it reopened?

After my previous post, I got several emails and comments from folks indicating that Roma's is not, in fact, closed.

I apologize for the misinformation.  It's almost like I work for the government, right?

Fishing at Rocky Gap State Park

Life is too short to stay at home all the time.  I had visiting Rocky Gap State Park on my bucket list and  I decided to take my son there to go fishing this year.

Rocky Gap is about 2 hours west of Baltimore, about 10 minutes east of Cumberland just off of I-68.  Nestled between the mountains in Pleasant Valley, the state-owned hotel, golf course, casino, and camp grounds are very nice.

On the way there, you pass through the burgeoning metropolis of Flintstone.  In Flintstone, I-68 passes through Sideling Hill.  This is a man-made cut in the Appalachian Mountains that exposes the synclinal rock strata.  It's really interesting.

Note the downward folded (synclinal rock).  

This is the visitor center at Sideling Hill.  Martin O'Malley closed it in 2009 when he cut the budget, despite the budget being higher than the year before.  The visitor center has been closed for 4 years.  Closing this visitor center saves Martin O'Malley hundreds of dollars per year.  However, he has raised taxes a lot so that we can invest in our future.  But apparently not the future of visitor centers.

My son is a fishing aficionado, so we like to fish as many different places as possible.  We did a little research and found that the lake at Rocky Gap, Lake Habeeb, is stocked with trout and the bass, blue gill, and catfish are plentiful.  To boot, the trout are stocked year-round.  Neither of us have ever caught a trout, so it sounded like the perfect plan.

In addition to the fishing, it was a great opportunity for photographing nature.  Not sure what this is, but it sure is purty!

This is Lake Habeeb looking south.  My son caught about 40 fish.  I caught 2.  He said I caught a warmouth.  I caught 2 of them.  He caught a boat load of blue gill, green sunfish, large-mouth bass, and warmouth.  No trout.  No catfish.

This is looking north toward Pennsyltucky, which is just a couple of miles from Rocky Gap.

This is one of the trails that we walked to get to a fishing pier.  How do trees grow in straight lines like this???

Isn't this a pretty state-owned hotel?  Nothing like the government competing with public and private companies.  My tax dollars at work!

I think this is my favorite picture.

We tried fishing at night.  We got skunked.  I'm assuming we didn't really know what we are doing.  There aren't too many opportunities around Eldersburg to legally fish at night.  So we left with no catfish.  No trout.  But we had fun.

Though we didn't utilize all of the amenities, I think it'd be worth taking a family.  There was a beach for swimming, boating, trails for hiking, the campgrounds were nice, the bathrooms were clean and not creepy, which is always a plus.  The cabins were decent.  I think my only regret, other than not catching a trout or a catfish, is that we forgot to get a t-shirt or some other souvenir before we left.  Maybe next time.

Rocky Gap - check it out.  Martin O'Malley wants you to visit it!  Oh, and spend all of your money at the casino.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Closed in Eldersburg - Roma's

If you're like most people in Eldersburg, you're probably thinking, "what's Roma's?"  Roma's, as you can see from this picture, is in the Country Village Shopping Center with Shopper's and it occupied the highly successful Jerry's Subs site. If you're like most people in Eldersburg, you're probably thinking, "we had a Jerry's?"

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was walking from Panera to Shopper's to get something I probably didn't need and I noticed that Jerry's....err Roma's looked closed.  I peeked inside and noticed the menu board was down, but there were still chairs inside.  Additionally, the second door was open and had a mop leaning up against it like they had been cleaning up spilled water, but there were no indications that anyone was in there.

Hopefully this pad will be replaced with a dessert restaurant or a nail salon.  Or maybe a Super Wal-Mart.

Coming to Eldersburg - Tutti Frutti Yogurt Shop

I was walking from Panera Bread to Shopper's the other day at the Country Village Shopping Center in Eldersburg and noticed workers inside the former Wine Country store making renovations.  I then spotted the notice on the door indicating that a Tutti Frutti Yogurt Shop was opening.  The Wine Country has been closed for a while.  Three years to be exact. I blame the lack of occupancy on Obama's Bush Recession.

We certainly need more dessert stores as we only have Rita's, Lexie's, DQ, and Twin Kiss.  Hopefully someone will come to their senses and convert a couple of these into nail salons.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lyme Disease Week 2

I just realized that my last post did not say whether or not I definitely have Lyme disease (not Lyme's disease as I thought it was).  Well, I definitely tested positive for Lyme.

For the past 2 weeks I've worked 1 full day.  I missed 3 full days of work because of the flu-like symptoms.  I felt totally out of it another.  I went to work one day this week, only to return home because of nauseousness.  I didn't work a full day today, but that was for other reasons.  However, I did experience most of the symptoms all day.

So what are the symptoms?  I haven't had the joint pain and arthritic symptoms like a lot of people.  However, I do seem to have a constant daze \ fog \ cloudiness \ confusion \ lack of focus \ buzz \ pressure in my head.  I also occasionally suddenly feel exhausted and fall asleep.  Fortunately those were on days that I was home.  The nauseousness seems to be a result of the medicine, which doesn't indicate that it must be taken with food, but clearly it does.

And the lack of focus?  I've been looking at this post for about an hour and I've written 3 paragraphs. Enough said?  Wait, what am I doing?  Yeah, I'm ready for this to be over.

Friday, June 07, 2013

2013 Dover 400 - A Recap

This past weekend was my family's annual trip to Dover to see the NASCAR race.  Like every year, it was a hoot. If you've never been to a NASCAR event and have a slight interest in it, you should try it once.

Television doesn't do racing justice.  Those cars are going a lot faster than they appear on the boob-tube. The problem with television is that the camera follows the cars, so you lose the point of reference.

The race had two points of significance.  First, due to heightened security from the damn terrorists, security was doing pat-downs and examining the contents of all bags.  At NASCAR events, you brings an average of six coolers of beer and 2 bags of Fritos, Twinkees, and Doritos.  Oh, and a bottle of water.  Some people even bring sunscreen.  With the more thorough inspections, the unintended consequence was that people stood in line for about a half an hour waiting to gain access to the stands.

Finally, at 1pm, the official start-time, I snagged a peak inside the stands and noticed that it was less than 25% full.  However, there were many thousands of people still standing outside waiting to get in.  Finally security decided to throw all available personnel at the gate inspections.  Then they stopped doing the pat-downs.  Then they stopped inspecting bags altogether.  As I passed the head security power-tripping jackass guy, I hollered to my dad, "I guess Fox television got on the horn with someone and said why the F**K are no people in the stands?  We paid a lot of money to show this!!!"  That drew some laughs from the yocals.  Dover later issued an official apology to fans for the absolute ridiculousness of the wait times.

Secondly, and unfortunately, 2013 will go down as the sequester year.  There was no fly-over by any military planes.  Instead, we were presented with the Delaware State Police Helicopter Trooper 4 flyover.  No disrespect to the hard working officers of the mighty Delaware State Police, but it's just not quite the same.

You've heard my normal babble on the race, so I'll just present you with some pictures and commentary. I don't really go there for the race. I go for the people.

I did manage to capture this short video of the cars racing by.  You get absolutely no sense as to how loud this really is. You can tell this is the first lap because everyone is still standing and a lot of people don't put on their headsets right away.  Admittedly, I don't either.  It's cool to hear the thundering roar as the cars pass and the vibrations pass through your chest like the bass and percussion at a rock concert.  But after that first lap, we're all cool with putting the headsets back on.

I used to work in a glass factory.  It was loud.  The older guys used to tell me that "after a while, you get used to the loud noise."  Yeah, that's called deafness.  "Ha???"  Exactly.  "What'd you say?"

I'm coining a new term: the NASCAR tan.

Attendance at Dover seems to be waning.  I think the stadium seating capacity is 135,000.  I recall more people at the previous 4 races. And to avoid embarrassments like this, and for other financial reasons, NASCAR no longer announces official attendance at events.

Everyone likes crashes in NASCAR.  I caught this close one in the pits.  One car pulls into his spot, the car behind him is pulling out, and three are going by.  They have to maintain 35 mph in pit row, but the drivers try to see who can be the first to 35 mph without looking where they're going.

One of my pet-peeves is that everyone is "going green".  Screw that. Aric Amirola's car runs on bacon, damn it!! 

Some NASCAR teams sweep their pit area after a pit stop.

Others are smart and use the blower.

The funny thing about some NASCAR fans is that the help their driver by telling them to go faster or to pass someone.  And they tell the other drivers they suck by showing them the #1 sign.

Tony Stewart ended up winning the race after leading only 3 laps.  But in NASCAR, the only lap that matters is the last one.

God bless America!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Lyme's Disease - It Is Real

Don't you hate it when I don't post anything for a long time?  I have a real good excuse this time.  I've been sick.

About 10 days ago I was taking a shower after working in the yard all day and I noticed a hard lump on my leg.  It was at an old angle, but as best as I could tell it was a purplish color and it felt a bit like marbles underneath.  I checked it out on the Internet and by my awesome self-diagnosis skills determined it to be a spider bite.  If I felt bad the next day, I was definitely going to the doctor.  My wife drew a black circle around the bite with a Sharpie to ensure that we knew if it got bigger.

It never got bigger.  I never felt worse.  The area softened to its normal state.  It was never hot.  It never itched.  It never hurt.  However, the odd coloring never went away.

On Monday, a full 9 days later, I started feeling like I was in a funk.  I attributed it to being in the sun all day while we were at the Dover 400.  I was basically in a stupor and was useless.  I think I even left work later.

That night I suddenly, and I'm not exaggerating, felt weird.  My body was getting achy and I wasn't able to sleep.  It felt like the onset of the flu.  I ended up watching 3 episodes of Fast & Loud between midnight and 3am, which is a really cool show.  Check it out.

The next day I called out from work and basically slept all day.  Achy body and everything.  I called out again the next day, but felt a little better - 42.6% better to be exact. However, I now had a low-grade fever.

This morning I woke up and my chest was really tight and it hurt.  I have a chronic cough.  And asthma.  And reflux.  What a wonderful combination!  The discharge is lovely.  Anyway, today's discharge was slightly bloody.  Doctor time.

I rattled off my symptoms to the doctor and she said it looks and sounds like Lyme's disease.  They're doing blood-work to confirm.  The chest sounded terrible, so they did an X-Ray to confirm pneumonia.  That came back negative, so I'm being treated for bronchitis.  Ever been on Prednisone?  That's like getting a blank check to act bat-shit crazy.  Side effects include irritability, nervousness, hyperactivity, dimmed cognitive abilities, frequent urination, and a strong desire to raise taxes and ignore the Constitution.  Hey, wait a minute......I might be on to something here.

So - in conclusion, self-diagnosis on the Internet is not always a good thing, if you get anything that looks like this on your leg, then go to the doctor RIGHT AWAY!!!!  It's a lot less colorful than it was, but still colorful enough.  Hopefully my Obamacare will pay for this.

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