Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 79

The Time Mookie Had To Get A Password Reset At Work

To do what I do at work, it requires me to have access to many different systems and software on my computer. This is all well and good, but each one of these systems requires its OWN login AND OWN password. None of them are the same, and all of them have different schedules of when they will require you to change your password. On a given day, I log into no less than EIGHT different systems - so it is understandable that I will forget a password every once in awhile.

When that happens, you normally get three "chances" to get it right. If you don't get it right in those three chances, for security reasons - it locks you out and revokes your access. This is nothing short of a pain in the ass, because then you have to call "The Help Desk."

The Help Desk people are actually local I.T people, which is nice because they ACTUALLY speak English and are American.  It's nice knowing that I'm not talking to some guy in Pakistan that I can't understand and tells me his name is "Kevin."  Anyway.....

One day I got locked out of one of my various systems and had to call the Help Desk.  Some times my co-workers and I call them the "No-Help Desk" because - depending on the problem - they are little no help.  Password resets are right in their wheelhouse though, so I called them up.

Now, to verify who you are to the I.T. people, you have to set up OTHER passwords in advance - when you get original access to the systems.  So yes...you have to remember other passwords to get another password.  It's ingenious.  Thankfully they are generic questions you choose from and "should" know the answer to.  They are things like "What's your mother's maiden name?", "What street did you live on?", or sometimes they let you create your own questions and answers.  I usually opt for this because you can do things most people wouldn't figure out if they were trying to get into your stuff.  Plus sometimes I like to have fun with it.  I once created a question that asked "Who's house did you burn down in 1982?"  It really makes the I.T. guys stop for a second.

The I.T. guy answered, and asked who I was and what site I worked at.  Once we verified that, he started asking my security questions.  They normally ask two of the five or so you have to set up.  The second security question was the one that became unintentionally hilarious.  He goes:
"What is your favorite musical artist or group?"
I answered: "Van Halen."

"NIICCEE!" was the response I got from the I.T. guy.

This made me laugh, and while he reset my password, we had a lengthy discussion over our favorite VH albums, if/when we saw them live, an discussed who was the better lead singer - Sam or Dave.  After a good five or six minutes, he finished what he needed and we verified that my access was back on my side.

Once we were done, he did the usual "Is there anything else we can help you with today?"  To which I had nothing.  He then said "Thanks for calling," and I thanked him for his help.

He then ended the call by saying "Rock on."

It made me laugh.  Best call with the Help Desk ever.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Caution! Burying Dead Bodies Ahead!

Gotta give credit to my wife for snapping this shot.  She has a keen eye for stuff.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 78

The Time Mookie Played Texas Hold-Em Poker In A Casino

I've definitely played my share of Poker over the years, but unfortunately almost all of it has been done with computer games or on iPad/smartphone apps (for no real money of course).  The few times I have played face-to-face with real live people has been at impromptu gatherings with family and friends.  That being said, a few years ago I finally got brave enough to "put up or shut up" and test my skills in the den of the beast - a real live casino poker room.

A humorous side note to this event - Whenever I have felt like getting out of the house and hitting a nearby casino, I usually like to have a partner in crime for the festivities.  My obvious first choice is my wife.  Most of the time one of us wins enough to make up for what the other person lost, but when we both lose...well it is not a happy day and we spend the car ride home God-damning the casino. So the times my wife doesn't want to hit the casino, I still have a sure-shot go-to person who almost will always go:  My Mom.

It is always hilarious calling my Mom and Dad's house to ask my Mom to go gambling, because when my Dad answers the phone and I ask if Mom is busy...it always goes like this:

Dad: "I don't think she's busy. Why what's up?"
Me: "Umm, I was wondering if she wanted to go to...Target."

It took him about five seconds to figure out that Target meant the casino.  Especially when my Mom was like "Ohh yeah I'll go!"  No one gets that excited for Target.  Well...most people don't anyway.

So Mom and I headed for the casino and I told her I was going to do it - I was going to try my hand at real live-action poker.  She thought this was cool, as she had became a fan of watching the "World Series of Poker" being played endlessly on ESPN.  When we hit the casino, we went our separate ways as we often do.  She normally hit the slots somewhere while I normally settle into a seat at a blackjack table.  We then find one another after we either lose all of our money, win money and decided to quit, or just have had enough of the elderly chain-smoking disabled folks taking gasps from their oxygen tanks between puffs on their cigarettes and hitting the spin button on their slot machines.  God Bless America.

I entered the poker room with ab-so-lutely no idea what I was going to be getting myself into.  I quickly found out that since it was a Sunday afternoon, business was slow and there were only a few games going at that time.  However, as luck would have it - the "director" of the room told me there was going to be a new table opening up in a few minutes hosting $3/6 Limit Texas Hold 'Em.  Nice.  The only issue here was that I'd never played any "limit" games of any kind, so that was going to be a new thing for me.

I bought in for a whopping $30 (the minimum buy-in), and when I sat down at the table with my little tray of chips I quickly found out that I was already dead meat.  The other 8 people sitting down to play had at least $50, if not $100 in chips sitting in front of them.  I told myself that since it was "limit" hold 'em, I could still take care of business.  (Nice thinking there Mookie....)

The game commenced, and my first hand was junk.  I mucked my hand and spent the rest of the hand looking at my competitors.  The older gentleman to my left did a HORRIBLE job of hiding his cards, because at will - I could simply just look to my left and see what he was holding.  I didn't say anything because I hoped this would play to my advantage, AND I didn't want to get my ass kicked for telling a guy I saw his cards.  The next hand played out and I was holding suited face cards, so I ante'd the $3 and got into the hand.  When the dealer dealt "the flop" (the first 3 community cards), I quickly surmised I had nothing.  So when the guy to my right bet at the pot - I folded.

As I sat waiting for the next hand, I remember feeling confident in how I was playing and thought it was pretty cool to be actually sitting there.  When the dealer cleared the table of the previous hand, I found myself sitting in the "big blind" position so I had to automatically bet the $3 table limit.  The dealer dealt the cards to the table, and when I peeked at my two cards I almost freaked out: Q Q.  Play went around the table with people either betting or folding.  When it got to me, I decided to "check" (not bet anymore) as I was last to play and had already bet with my "big blind" ante.  The dealer then laid the three-card flop: two cards I don't remember - and a Queen.  Yup...I'm sitting on three-of-a-kind here.  My hands were literally shaking from excitement and I was doing everything I could to look composed and calm so I didn't give away my good hand.  When the play came to me, I bet the table limit of $6.  This altered the play around the table after me, with some people choosing to stay in, but most people folded.  The dealer revealed the "turn" card (the fourth community card), which was nothing to me as it did not pair anything already on the table - nor was it another Queen.  When play came to me, I again raised the bet to the table max of $6.  All but one other guy over to my right folded as the play went around the table.  I knew my hands were definitely shaking at this point, but I kept my eyes staring at my own cards laying face down on the table in hopes that my excitement just looked like I had a weird twitch or something.  The only time I looked up was when the other guy to my right continued to match my bet on the table.  The dealer then laid the "river" card (the 5th and final community card), which again did not pair anything on the table - nor did it include another Queen.  I looked at the cards and was fairly certain that the guy betting against me could not be holding a flush or a straight.  At best I figured he had a strong pair or maybe even two pair.  Either way, even if he had two-pair I still had him beat with my three ladies.  I looked up at the guy, and bet another $6 - which he promptly matched like he was trying to bully me or something.  The dealer asked us to turn over our cards, and the other guy quickly and proudly flipped his over to show that with "the board" (the community cards on the table) he had made two pair.  With all eyes on me - and the look of triumph in the other guy's eyes glaring down at me -  I turned over my cards and said "Three of a kind."

The look on the guy's face was PRICELESS.  The dealer then pushed all the chips towards me and I felt like I had won the GD World Series Of Poker.  It was a moment I will never forget.

It's OK honey.  I already knew you were a loser.
It wasn't long after this though that I quickly learned that "limit" poker isn't a game where you can bluff, or bet at stupid shit a whole lot and win.  You pretty much need to have "the hand" or you are just wasting your money.  Due to my novice level of "limit" poker, I was doing stupid stuff like betting the pot limit on low-pair hands or gut-shot straights that never made it.  It was as though I had basically used up all of my collective luck on that one three of a kind hand, because just as fast as I had taken down that big pot - I busted out and had to get up.

When I left the poker room and casino that day, while I was obviously financially poorer than when I walked in - I was definitely richer in terms of the "education" I received sitting at that table, and having the experience of that first "big" win.

If you ask me, it was $30 well spent.

Miss a previous story?  You had better click HERE to catch up!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 77

The Time Mookie Almost Got Kicked Out Of An Amusement Park

As I mentioned in last week's story, there was a particular summer several years ago where I was able to go to an area amusement park (Adventureland) three times during a summer season:

-Trip One was with my family;
-Trip Two (detailed in Episode 76) was with my church's youth group and where I threw up after riding "round and round" rides;
and
-Trip Three was with my friend's church youth group - which is the tale I present to you today.  As you can tell from the title, we were definitely up to no good that day. What did we do????  Read on my friends.

There was a crowd of us there that day courtesy of "Rick's(*)" church youth group, but I essentially hung out with just Rick and "Tweed(*)."  While most of the day was fun, it was also quite uneventful. That is of course...until we decided to ride the roller coasters.

AHH! Here we come!
photo courtesy: adventurelandpark.com  
At the time, the park had a total of four roller coasters:
-Der Flitzer- a small carnival-type roller coaster.  Lame but fun.
-Super Screamer - A rickety steel framed structure that was two steps above Der Flitzer.
-Dragon - The park's first (and only) coaster that goes upside down.
and
-Tornado - The crown jewel of the whole park.  Simply put:  It's a big-ass wooden roller coaster.
I love this ride, and incidentally is where we got into trouble.

By mid-afternoon, we had hit all the good rides and even had our fill of the 360-degree loops courtesy of the Dragon.  It was around this time that we started an impressive run of riding the Tornado numerous times in a row.  We'd get off, walk down the ramp, walk through the carnival games outside the exit, and walk back to the entrance of the Tornado.  After awhile, we started playing games in the carnival area on our way back to the ride. Eventually we were winning lame stuffed animals, but we wanted to keep riding the Tornado. So what did we do?  We took the stuffed animals on the Tornado with us.

When we'd go down the hills, we'd hold them up in the air for the entire ride and laugh at the end because their fuzz was all wind-blasted.  Naturally, because we were idiots - things got out of hand and we stepped it up a notch:  We started throwing the stuffed animals off the ride.

Not just casually tossing them - THROWING them. I don't remember why, but man it was DAMN HILARIOUS.  We did this on two separate runs - each of us chucking our newly acquired stuffed friends off into the park somewhere from the coaster.  On our third (and what turned out to be final) animal-throwing run, we decided to really go "all out" and chuck multiple animals.  I shouldn't have to tell you that this is there our rule breaking eventually caught up with us.

See that red/orange person in the back?
That's where we were.
photo courtesy: negative-g.com
We set off down the big hill with our stuffed animals stuck in the seats beside us (we all rode in separate cars).  Once we got to the far end of the track where the ride turned to come back to the station (and where the people running the ride couldn't see us), we got out the animals and started throwing them.  In an effort to really throw them, Rick, Tweed, and I more or less were up out of our seats so that we got better distance  It was hilariously fun, but as we finished up the ride, it became quickly apparent that we were busted.

We re-entered the station and saw one of the ride caretakers talking on a walkie-talkie, gesturing back and forth between the ride controller, and pointing towards the back of the ride where we were all sitting.  The first thing I picked up in the Tornado employees' conversation was "The guy over at the Dragon said there were several of them towards the back of the car."

Great.  Someone over at The Dragon roller coaster (which runs alongside the Tornado) saw us and radioed in that they saw our shenanigans.

The guy holding the walkie comes walking down the deck towards the rear of the car and begins berating everyone on the ride.  He said that he was told by someone over at the Dragon that people were "standing up" and "throwing things" from the ride.  It is apparent he does not know "who" did these things because he's looking at everyone and seeing if anyone looked guilty.  He made some grand statement about safety, and then said if we were caught doing anything like this again that we'd be "immediately expelled" from the park.

The ride controller - who seemed somewhat shocked at the other guy's lecture -  then released our lap bars and in a puzzled tone recited his usual "Ladies and gentlemen, please lift your lap bars, exit the ride to the right, walk slowly down the ramp and have a wonderful day at Adventureland."

We all kept calm puzzled faces until we got back out into the carnival area where we did the whole "OH MY GOD WE ALMOST GOT KICKED OUT!!" thing.  Needless to say, we didn't ride the Tornado again that day.

In hindsight, what we did was pretty stupid and unsafe.  However, it appears our mischievousness may have eventually helped make that ride safer: Back then they only had the lap bar to keep us on and in the ride. Now they now have the lap bar AND seat belts.  Its people like us that help (ruin) "make rides safer" for everyone else.

Yeah I know. You're welcome.

(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent.

Miss a previous story?  Bored at work and want something to read?  Click HERE to see a bunch of other crap I've done.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 76

The Time Mookie Vomited At An Amusement Park

I was reminded of this story when my ENTIRE family went to a nearby amusement park this past weekend.  In fact I'm reminded of it any time my kids want me to go on one of those "round and round" rides.  I can't ride that stuff anymore.  They give me a headache and they make me want to hurl - which sucks because my kids make fun of me.  That is of course until they ride them and then make faces that look like they are going to empty the contents of the stomachs on the sidewalk.  See...Dad's not so stupid is he??

When I was in high school, there was one epic summer where through a variety of circumstances I was able to go to an amusement park called "Adventureland" three times in one summer.  This was kind of a big deal to me because I like amusement parks (especially roller coasters), and I rarely went to them due to location and lack of fund-age.  The events that led to three trips were a summer family outing, and two church "youth group" outings. One was mine, the other was "Rick's(*)." The trip in question here was with my youth group.  I remember this because my youth group had a troublesome fellow named "Bert(*)" who invited a few other trouble makers for the trip.  Topping off anything else they did that day - they all "dipped" Skoal in the back of the van on the way home.  They tried to be discreet about it, but the entire van reeked of "wintergreen" chew.  The nicotine kick caused them to wrestle and roughhouse in the van.  Of course this led to the tobacco making them feel like hell by the time we got home.....But that's a different story....
credit: adventureland.com

When we got to Adventureland, Rick and I hit all the rides at the beginning of the park.  This included a rocking pirate ship ride, a little roller coaster, another little roller coaster, and some spinning whirly rides.  My stomach was starting to feel ill from the spinning, but I thought it was an anomaly since I had ridden all of this stuff in the past with little or no trouble.  Normally I was pretty immune to the effects of all these rides.  It was then that we decided to ride the "Falling Star."  As you can see by the picture along the side here, it is a platform that rotates sideways in a 360-degree circle. I had ridden this thing before and thought it was fun, so we went on it.  About 30 seconds into the ride, things took a turn for the worse.  My stomach said "I do not like this ride" and nausea overcame me instantly.  Each time the ride came down and threw me against the side of the car with its centripetal force, the sense of "tossing my cookies" was compounded ten-fold.  Holy Jesus.  The G-Forces (and negative G-Forces) were turning my guts inside out.  Somehow I held it together until the ride ended, and stumbled off the ride and down the ramp without drenching anyone in bile and lung butter.  Upon reaching the sidewalk outside the ride, I immediately found a bench and sat down try and "collect myself."  Instead however, my body decided to drench itself in sweat and the discomfort in my belly and head increased..  Rick looked at me and was like "Whoa."  After a minute of sitting, I decided that I needed to get up and try to "walk it off," or at least move in case I puked because I didn't want to puke there in front of everyone.  We started up this somewhat empty stretch of sidewalk, and as luck would have it - it was lined with open-mouthed trash cans.  My stomach decided right then that NOW was the time to void itself of its contents - and I WRETCHED.  I staggered as fast as I could to a trash can and spewed.  I looked up and no one saw me - except Rick - who was laughing his ass off.  I stumbled a little further and walked to the other side of the sidewalk where yet another trash can resided - and coated the inside of that receptacle with my breakfast: "BLEEEEAAAA!"  This continued for two or so more trash cans until I collapsed on another nearby bench feeling somewhat better, but still nauseous and feeling like my head was going to explode.

Remember the movie "Summer School" where the kid
barfs in the trash can after the roller coaster? It was pretty
close to that.
After a good span of time waiting for the dry heaves and endless sweating to subside, I felt well enough to hit some more rides - albeit ones that didn't go round and round and round and round.

Ever since then, I CANNOT ride anything that goes around in a repetitive motion like that.  Roller coasters that do flips?  I can do that.  Heck, I even rode something the other day that goes end over end forward and backward several times.  Those circular things though...forget it.  Merry-Go-Rounds, Ferris Wheels, Tilt-O-Whirls, Scramblers....anything that spins in a non-stop circle....you can count me out.  Even looking at them while my kids ride them is enough to make my stomach start contracting.

It sucks being a wuss sometimes.

Stay tuned for next week where I detail a story that happened on the Adventureland trip with Rick's youth group.  It's a good one.

(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent

Miss a previous episode?  Click HERE to catch up on the stupidity.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Third Shift Laugh

Happy Fourth Of July!

Everyone here at Breathtaking and Inappropriate wishes you a festive and happy Fourth Of July. Just remember to be safe out there. Not "too safe" though....because no one has fun unless someone does something stupid.
The gang here at Breathtaking is having quite a shindig today, complete with food, games, beer, and fireworks. Its a tradition of sorts and all kinds of people stop by. Here is a pic from last year. I'm not sure who invited them, but that gal in the knee-high tennis shoes kept challenging everyone to put their legs behind their heads. As you can tell, they all had done that before and were all pretty good at it...
Have a good one.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Inspiration

This guy has definitely has inspiration.
Or just a hell of a grudge...

Third Shift Laugh

Yep. Her "personality" is real nice. They definitely deserve an award.
Both of them.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 75

As this week includes both the Fourth of July and my friend "Rick's(*)" birthday, I thought I'd throw this one out to you this week......

The Time Mookie and Rick Made A Run To The Border For Fireworks

This picture sums up every kid in my state
Living in a state that does not legally allow people to buy/sell/use "quality fireworks" without a permit - has got to be one of the biggest downers any "wanna-be-delinquent" can face.  Seriously, there is NOTHING fun about sparklers and snakes (the only "legal" fireworks available).  If you ask me, sparklers are WAY more dangerous than firecrackers.  Those wires can poke an eye out or give some stupid kid a nasty 3rd degree burn.

Before I totally throw them under the bus, I have to say that you CAN have some fun with sparklers.....get a WHOLE bunch of them and then crumble the sparkler material off the wires into a plastic cup.  When you have a pretty decent amount of sparkler dust in your cup, spray a "shot" of a flammable aerosol (WD-40 is nice) just down the inside of the cup so it runs down into the dust.  Light the WD-40 that you sprayed into the cup - and run like hell.  It's a nice show.  I forgot to mention that you should use a cup that you don't want anymore.  You'll see why.  ANYWAY...

One summer day after the novelty of flaming sparkler dust had run its course, my friend Rick and I decided that the time had come for us to go get some REAL fireworks.  In order to do so, we had to make a three hour drive and cross the border into our neighboring state.  There (we were told by everyone we knew), we would be greeted by more fireworks stands and shops than you can visit in one day.  Needless to say, we were quite giddy over our mission at hand.

The most exciting part about all of it to us was probably the overall element of danger.  We were crossing the border into another state, buying fireworks, and then TRANSPORTING them back into a state where they were ILLEGAL.  OHHHH LAWDY!  It would be an understatement to say that we were retarded about the whole thing - especially due our serious fear that we were going to get stopped and have our car searched by a member of the law enforcement community on our way back across the border.  In order to thwart any would-be legal issues coming back across the border, we decided to take my car (the famed Ford EXP) as the hatchback could be fashioned into a "secret" compartment.  We could hide the fireworks stash there, and in the event we did get pulled over - any nosy cop looking into the back window would see a bare hatchback.  We thought we were pretty clever about the whole thing.

Early one morning, we finally made our "run for the border."  On the way there, we devised a plan of action on what we were going to do.  We decided that we needed to "shop" several of the fireworks stores and see who had the best deals before we bought anything.  We were not going to let some over-the-border-explosives-merchant rip us off!  No no.....only premium fireworks at premium prices for us.

As we neared the border - the sense of excitement grew.  We constantly had our eyes out for any patrolmen hanging out along the highways - awaiting some poor bastards with a load of fireworks to slip into their county.  We didn't see any, but we knew they were out there.  Finally, we crossed the border and were promptly greeted by more signs than you could imagine advertising fireworks.  All of them claimed to be the "biggest" store, the "best" store, or the "cheapest" seller of anything that went "BOOM."  I think our eyes pretty much glazed over at that point.  Somehow we kept our wits about us, and decided to be discriminate in our store selection. We didn't figure we were going to get a deal - or even viable fireworks from some yahoo selling bottle rockets out of a humid shack along the highway.  Rick suggested we ONLY visit shops that appeared to be a "temperature controlled environment," which I thought was a smart move too.  We didn't drive 3 hours to get stuff that wouldn't light in a forest fire.
To me, this sign screams
"You will get raped here."

As luck would have it - one of the first stores we saw fit this description, so we pulled into the parking lot to see what they had for us.  It is safe to say that once we got into the store and saw the glory that layed before us.....our plans about going to a variety of shops went right out the window.  I had never stood before this much firepower in my life, and was willing to pay what we needed to pay to get it RIGHT NOW.  The prices were (as far as we were concerned) quite reasonable, and the dealer was cool.  Once he verified our ages, he said that if we bought a certain amount of fireworks that he'd throw in a certain amount for free.  Booyah.  This place had everything:  roman candles, bottle rockets, huge rolls of Black Cat fire crackers, mortars, and all sorts of fountains and novelty noise makers.  It. Was. Magical.
A choir sounded in my head at this sight before me

We carefully selected our stash, picked up our "bonus" items, and let the guy ring us up.  We then took care to place our bags (yes...multiple) of soon-to-be-illegal purchases within the hatchback's secret compartment, fired up the EXP, and made our way BACK across the border. Instead of being a multi-hour / multi store excursion, it had turned into a one-store, get in and get out visit.  All told - we were only over the state line maybe 30 minutes tops.

As we came back across the border we again had our eyes on the lookout for the po-po, but soon found out that there was no one waiting for us.  The feelings of tension about being arrested gradually subsided, and eventually gave way to feelings of hunger.  We decided to stop and have a nice lunch at Subway (they make a nice sandwich) before continuing the rest of the way home.

Thanks to our journey, whenever an event that summer called for an explosive display of some kind - we were able to accommodate.  In fact, we usually accommodated when an event didn't call for an explosive display.  Truth be told:  We just liked blowing stuff up and we were good at it.

Even though we were more like "Laurel and Hardy" - as opposed to the "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" we thought we were....I will never forget that first run to the border for fireworks.

I think we need to go back.


(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent

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