Friday, October 29, 2004

Where's The Friggin' Sign??

Alex sent me on a wild goose chase this morning. I left early to go vote because this is the last day before election day that you can do it. WELL.....his directions were completely wrong and I ended up giving up. I called him when I got to the office and told him that the street he told me to turn on didn't exist. OOPS! He got confused. So now I have to wait until I get home tonight and have to possiblly endure a long wait.

On another note, the Kerry/Edwards yard sign was stolen sometime between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm yesterday. The Tarrant County Democratic Headquarters said they are going through the signs like water and they ran out of stakes, so they went to go get some more. Hopefully Cesar has an extra one and I'll get one from him.

On a depressing note, the stress of anticipating a move, a new job, and other things is getting to me again. When stress enters my life I seem to gain weight. I'm mad because I was doing so good and now I'm falling off the wagon again! I'm going to get this stress under control so I don't feel like crap. I guess I'll just have to put my mind to it and stop worrying so much right now. I don't think it's so mucy worrying as it is anticipation. That's what it is.....anticipation. Alot of things are changing right now and it's all happening at once. Is this good or bad?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Hot Dogs And Other Things.

I must say that last nights episode of "Desperate Housewives" was hilarious. I tell you.....if you haven't been watching this show, you should. It is sort of a soap opera with ongoing story lines, but they aren't hard to follow. This is definitely my favorite show after "Alias," of course!

So this morning I was doing my usual routine at work as I do every morning by checking email, returning phone calls, and reading the news online. I never buy a newspaper. Why waste perfectly good money when you can read it for FREE on the web??? I came across this story on msnbc.com about airport security checkpoints and spare change. Did you know that last year at total of $321,329.48 was collected at the nations airports security checkpoints in change?? Isn't that crazy??? At DFW International alone there was $13, 355.51 collected which came in second only to Chicago's O'Hare with $13,938.53. Of course I wondered what was done with the money. The answer came a little later in the article. Every year it is all deposited into the general fund for the U.S. Treasury Department. Makes me wonder what they do with it.

Now on to everyone's favorite food.....HOT DOGS! I was talking to Carrie this morning after remembering that I was supposed to call her back last night. OOPS! She told me that she was going to go have lunch with her son at school and that hot dogs were being served. She doesn't eat these things. She said she wasn't going to breathe through her nose the entire time she was there because the smell alone is enough to make her gag. I on the other hand enjoy a good hot dog. She swears up and down that they are made from, as she puts it, "Snouts, hair and hooves." I told her she was insane. So I went to google while she was on the phone and typed in the sentence "What are hot dogs made of" and what I found was....well, interesting.

I was on the healthy eating website and they proceeded to say that hot dogs are made from pork, chicken, beef, or turkey or a combination these meats. It said that all beef or all pork hot dogs are made from one animal (kinda scary to know that other animals are combined in some brands) and I was a little relieved because I only eat all beef ones. It then said that if on the list of ingredients, if the words "animal byproducts" or "mechanically seperated meat" is listed then you are pretty much eating crap. Things like liver, heart and other organs are sent through the grinder because there are some meat left on them. On some occassions even some bone ends up getting grinded through. I thought Carrie was going to throw up on the phone.

So let this be a lesson to all......if the words "animal byproducts" or "mechanically seperated meat" appear on the package of your hot dogs (and this includes bologna), DO NOT EAT IT!! For Gods sake go spend the extra $1 and buy the all beef or all pork kinds!!!

Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer weiner.........

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Weekend And Other Comments

I'm not going to comment much on this weekend because some things just don't need to be expressed in a public forum where others can read it. All I'm going to say is that things were worked through and all is well in the Kingdom of Chico. I love my friends dearly and I'm glad we are all adult enough to talk and resolve issues without any unnecessary drama.

On another note, Cesar, Sergio, and myself went out to dinner tonight. What was intended to be a night at America's didn't turn out like that. I wasn't aware that they were closed on Sunday nights (kinda weird for a restaurant) ended up elsewhere. After Cesar and I saw it was closed we decided to go to Cafe Madrid because I thought it was Cuba Libre. Turns out Cafe Madrid is ALSO closed on Sundays. GRRRR!

Across the street from that place is Samba Room. We decided to go there so I called Sergio for the 100th time to change the location. I really doubt I will be back there again. It's described as a Cuban restaurant, so I was really intrigued by it. Turns out it's not that great. First off, most of the menu is seafood which I don't do. Secondly, it's way overpriced for the food quality. At the end of the night the bill came to $108!!!! Holy crap! The friggin' pitcher of sangria alone was $20. I will have to admit though that the flourless chocolate cake I had was fabulous! Other than that, skip this restaurant. I really want to try Cafe Madrid though.....so Cesar, we're going!!

After this, Sergio went home and Cesar and I went to see Shark Tale. If you haven't seen this movie......go see it! It's really cute and funny and Cesar and I laughed. It's nothing like Finding Nemo. It really stand apart. It's funny to see the turmoil that Lenny the shark goes through because he is "vegetarian" when the adult innuendo could be interpreted as "gay." This is why my friend Carrie now refers to me as "vegetarian." Isn't she hilarious???

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Women Here VS Women There

You hear so much (mainly from citizens of the United States) about how we are the greatest country in the world. Things here are 100 times better then in many parts of the world. But sometimes you wonder if we really are.

Every once in a while when I can't sleep at night, I'll get up and watch Oprah at 12:30. Last night was such a night. I love it when she does a show that lets the viewer take a peek into how people in other countries live. This particular episode took a look at how a 30 year old woman in 17 various countries live compared to their American counterparts. What I learned was interesting.

In Kuwait, which is the only democracy in the Middle East, a 30 year old woman is usually married.....but to her cousin. Families do this to keep their blood within their family. I was sort of taken aback by this, but the woman said that in the Middle East it's not looked down upon. Not only that, but to encourage marriage all newlyweds receive a $12,000 gift which consists of $6000 directly from the King plus a $6000 interest free loan. There is literally no people living in poverty in Kuwait due to that country being rich in oil and most people have a fleet of luxury cars. The state provides ALL health care free of charge and also pays for ALL education costs up to the college level. At the college level, the graduation rate is 64% female and 36% male. The only thing women can't do is vote. Oh....all citizens also do NOT pay any income tax.

In France, women generally will not be overweight. Only 32% are overweight compared to 64% of American women. But 1 in 3 smoke and on average each drinks 17 gallons of wine a year. The government, again, pays for ALL health care for it's citizens and enforces a 35-hour work week with a mandatory 5-weeks of paid vacation a year. Uncanny!

In Brazil, if you are a 30 year old woman you will most likely spend most of your time in a thong at the beach. Plastic surgery is rampant there with butt implants being the most requested procedure.

In South Korea, plastic surgery is out of control for women in their early 30's. Many are undergoing a procedure to make their eyes more round to look more Western. They spend 3 times the average monthly salary of $1500-2000 on enhancements to their eyes, their nose, and a painful calf muscle shaving procedure to make their legs appear thinner.

In Mexico, women generally DO NOT work out or diet. This is because the men prefer their women with curves. Also, women tend to always look their best in body fitting dresses and heels. One bad thing is the rate of infidelity of men. In Mexico, if a couple wants a divorce and the husband can prove that the wife didn't fulfill her sexual duties (which is quite easy to prove) she forfeits any allimony for life. Therefore most women expect their husbands to cheat.

In Cuba, the government pays for all health care for it's citizens. The cost to get a divorce is $3.50 and usually takes no more than 5 minutes. If both parties agree to it, then a notary public can authorize it. The average monthly income is $23 and most live in poor conditions. A woman of 30 also, on average, will have had 3 abortions by the time she reaches that age.

In Rwanda, a 30 year old woman is lucky to be just that.....a woman who is 30. Most were butchered in the slaughter that took place there a decade ago.

Oprah had a woman from some of the countries she featured on the show and asked them the same question: what was their perception of American women?? They all said that the perception they have of American women is overweight, pushy, constantly on the go, and they do not take time out to just relax.

I always find it interesting the perception that people in other parts of the world have of us. Sometimes it makes you step back and do the same.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Bally's = BAD!

I'm going to forwarn you. This is going to be a bitch session about Bally's. Basically, they suck.....no, I stand corrected.....they FUCKING suck! Let me tell you what happened:

Back in Nov. of 2001, I wanted to join a gym. Since Bally's was the only one near my house I went to them. When you are a new member, they lock you into a 3 year contract, which I didn't have a problem with because I was having a card charged monthly for the dues. 2 months into it, I decided to just pay off all 3 years on a credit card. Overall I've been pretty happy with them untiil now.

I got a renewal notice about a week and a half ago notifying me that my membership expires on Dec. 15. I was given 3 options to renew: 1 year at $325.75, 2 years at $633.26, and 3 years at $925.54. They also let me know that for a one-time charge of $99 I can upgrade from my Fitness level to a Platinum level so I can work out at any Bally's location in the DFW area. Wonderful! So I called and told the customer service person that I wanted to do the 3 years plus the $99 upgrade fee which brought the total to $1024.54. I told her that I was going to give her a card number to have the amount charged monthly over the 3 years. I was told that I had to pay the full amount NOW.....I cannot be charged monthly. This set a long debate as to why they couldn't do this. So she put me on hold.

When she came back she said that if I wanted to billed monthly I can only renew for 1 year out at a time. I said fine....I'll do that. Then she said that my total charged now would be $423.75, which was the 1 year option and the upgrade fee. This confused me. I explained to her that is not what she just said, so I asked for a supervisor. The minute this supervisor got on the phone, I could hear the attitude in her voice and knew it wasn't going to go well. I started off by explaining the conversation between me and the CSA and she rudely interrupted me and said "I know what was said.....I was standing right there." She then told me that my options were to pay the full $1024.54 now or go to another gym. I was really shocked at this. I told her that I was amazed that a member who had paid their initial contract in full and was wanting to remain with them was being treated so badly. She said, "Well sir, that's your opinion." I immediately hung up.

At this point I went to the website and wrote a letter to the corporate office. This was their response:

Dear Mr. Segura:
 
           Re:  Account no. 0045 802 624 002
 
Thank you for your recent e-mail to Bally Total Fitness.
 
By electing to take advantage of the 3 year renewal  and upgrade option for $1024.54, you are electing to pay this in full.  Unfortunately, this offer can not be paid monthly.
 
Thank you for choosing Bally Total Fitness to serve your health and fitness needs.
 
Bally Total Fitness
Member Services Department

So my response was this:

Dear Sir or Madam:

Thank you for your form letter response.  You have made my decision to leave Bally's much easier and I look forward to spending long-term dollars with one of your competitors who appreciates their members.

Luciano Segura III

So in essense, I am upset that I was treated this way and can't believe that they obviously don't care. I have no problem going to 24 Hr. Fitness which does not lock you in any type of contract and has nicer facilities. So stay away from Bally's.....they are evil evil evil!!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Rain, Rain, Go Away!!

It's been raining all morning. I know this because it woke me up around 4 a.m. and I wasn't able to go back to sleep. The radio also said it's supposed to be like this all week through Friday. What is up with that? I had a conversation with Carrie this morning about the screwiness of Texas weather and how it will randomly rain throughout the year. Most other places have rainy seasons, but Texas just has fucked up weather patterns. Where else can it be 110 degrees outside, suddenly rain, and the water be hot! Go figure.

Last night I found a new guilty pleasure on TV. I normally don't watch much network television because everything nowadays is either a reality show or a legal drama. And since the invention of Tivo, I can record it and watch it later while skipping the commercials. But because my beloved "Alias" isn't returning until January on Sunday nights, I decided to watch "Desperate Housewives" which was put in it's timeslot. I think I'm hooked. Now before you start laughing or rolling your eyes, you really should watch it. It's a dark drama/comedy.......a dramedy if you will......about a group of housewives on a fictional street called Wisteria Lane. You have the divorced single mother who hasn't had sex in forever, the corporate executive turned housewife and mother who misses her job, the gold digger who married for money who ends up screwing the lawnboy all over the house, and the anal retentaive stepford wife-ish homemaker who likes everything perfect. They are all friends who come together after a 5th housewife and their friend blows her brains out 10 minues into the show and sticks around as a voiceover, leaving everyone to wonder what drove her to it. Tossed in the mix, you have the neighborhood slut who sleeps with anything with a penis and is breathing (come on....we all know someone like this) and the nosy neighbor who is always in everyone's business. The husbands are really just a byproduct of the show. Slowly you begin to see the secrets these seemingly perfect housewives are hiding. Especially the one who killed herself. At the end of the first show last night, the other 4 find a letter postmarked the day of her death. It was one of those "I know what you did" letters and leaves everyone wondering what happened. There's actually an encore showing of the first show on Saturday I think. Tape it if you must!

It's over the top, overly dramatic at times, and over acted. But hey, aren't most gay men like this anyways? Maybe that's why I liked it so much.