Did You Ever Play Farmville?

Farmville 2 has hit the Facebook universe, and I know Zynga is really hoping it brings some gusto back to it’s brand, but I have to say that other than the characters being cute, and the 3-D is nice and all but a little slow, I quickly “unplugged” the app from my Facebook account after about 5 minutes of playing and probably won’t be back. Not a good sign.

I was a big Zynga guy. From Farmville to the Cafe game, from Cityville to Empires and Allies, and from Cityville to Castleville, I’ve wasted countless hours collecting crops and trying to expand my “Ville” or fight the “enemy,” only to get frustrated by the increasing need to “add neighbors,” and not wanting to add people I really didn’t know to my friend’s list. Being selective left an instant stall in how big I could grow things, and eventually led to many thoughts of “Why am I wasting my time with this?” Luckily I never got into the “buying coins” thing, although I do admit I did buy a Zynga gift card as a gift for someone, but that was about it.

I do have to say that as my Facebook world has shifted from my laptop to my iPhone that the Facebook game thing has faded quite a bit for me, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still a Zynga user as I can be a Words With Friends kind of guy, and still like it when the Scramble game gives me some fanfare when I get lucky and defeat my wife, but still wonder at their decision to buy Draw Something as that game quickly got old with its insistence on “buying” just about everything. I did try the Farmville thing on my iPhone with their app, and I think I would have gotten sucked in had I found it early on in my Zynga love, but by the time it hit I had come to my senses and figured my life would be better lived if I didn’t waste me time building a virtual farm that would only leave me sad that I didn’t have any friends.

In any case, with Farmville 2 now out, my daily plight reflects back to the original: Did you ever play Farmville?

That’s it for this plight! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Are You Ready for Some Football?

The NFL season opens this week, and my excitement level is about half. Having lived in Chicago more than half of my life now, I have become a Chicago Bears fan, however, having grown up near Cleveland, the Browns are always near and dear to my heart. Luckily the chance of the Browns playing the Bears in the Super Bowl is such a far-out reality that my true allegiance will probably never be tested, but I will find myself cheering on both teams an any given Sunday. This year there was some initial hope for the Bears, but then Brian Urlacher ended up injured and the team just didn’t look that great in the pre-season (Maybe Jay Cutler’s new baby with K-Cav, I mean Kristin Cavallari, is keeping him up at night), and the Browns, well, I don’t pay attention to them as much as I should, usually I’m just hoping they can win a few games a season and make it look good, but from what I could follow from some Facebook friends, it looks like it might be a long season for the Browns fans again.

The thing is I’m a sucker for believing, once the season gets going, that somehow, someway, one of my teams will make it to the Super Bowl. I will watch the games, check the standings, and until they are mathematically eliminated, always have some glimmer of hope and usually waste the three-ish hours of a Sunday yelling at the TV (Although the yelling has toned down quite a bit since I’ve gotten married) that Cutler will make that miraculous play, or the Dog-Pound will have a reason to go crazy. Then, low and behold, there will inevitably come that play in the game where I will turn into my mom, throw my arms up in disgust, and say “That’s it!”, knowing, in my head, the game is over, only thirty seconds later thinking “Maybe there’s a chance.” It’s like a self-inflicted torture every Sunday, of highs and lows, and praying the opposing team is stupid and will kick the ball to Devin Hester for another amazing kick-off return.

Such is football, and such will be Sundays for a while, and such is today’s plight: Are you ready for some football?

That’s it for this plight! I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Did You Have a Good Summer?

Summer is over here in the northern hemisphere of this globe we call Earth. Sure there is that entire “Fall doesn’t officially begin until the Autumnal Equinox on September 22nd” thing, but for the most part, with Labor Day complete and it now being September, it’s Fall. You wouldn’t know it today here in Chicago with the temperature supposedly going to reach 90 degrees, but hey, it’s been a really hot few months, so why stop now? As are most seasons if we had a good one we look back and wonder where the time went, or generally look forward to the next seasonal phase, hoping a new start is beginning because the previous one seemed so lousy. So this plight is pretty straightforward: Did you have a good summer?

That’s it for this plight! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Do You Have to Work on Labor Day?

I was going to have today’s plight be about pregnant ladies, poking fun at the word “labor” in Labor Day, but I decided against it. I’ve used that joke for years, put in my head by radio dude Steve Dahl, but then I just didn’t like where that plight was going, ending up with “Do you know anyone pregnant on this Labor Day?” Maybe I’ll use it next year, but the more I was thinking about Labor Day and it’s reason for being, the more it also occurs to me that for those we are mostly celebrating, as the day is a holiday “that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers,” the workers are also those getting screwed by actually having the day off. Sure, it’s a supposed boom for the retail sector, but in the agreements I’ve read with many a union, Labor Day is a day that work is forbidden except in the cases saving life or property, or with permission by the union. The thing is, most union folks are paid by the hour, only when they work, so by actually forcing union people to take the day off they are actually being punished by getting one day less in pay, and if you want the math, the base rate for a Laborer in Chicago is about $36.30/hr, so by forcing a Laborer in Chicago to not work on Labor Day and to have a barbecue instead, that dude (or dudette for that matter) is losing about $290.04 in an 8-hour day, and that doesn’t even include all of the benefits paid to the union by the company he or she works for. Yup, by my calculation, Labor Day is actually screwing over most of the people we are supposed to be celebrating!

In the end, though, I’m happy with Labor Day, and the three day weekend it gives me, but I do remember some of my days in retail when I always thought it sucked because I had to work. Retail workers have to work and most of them probably don’t want to, and Laborers would rather work but can’t because the Union won’t let them, which leads me to today’s plight of: Do you have to work on Labor Day?

That’s it for this plight! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Have you ever had an egg roll with peanut butter in it?

The other day my wife said the oddest thing, or so I thought. She said that she was craving a good egg roll, which I must admit that every now and then I crave a good egg roll as well (My go-to when I was working in Chicago for an awesome egg roll was Chinatown Cafe at 2604 S Wentworth). That wasn’t the odd thing. The odd thing was her saying the best egg roll she ever had was made with peanut butter. I looked at her with confusion, and she told me that in her travels, she found that “authentic” egg rolls are made with peanut butter in them. And so our quest began

As our travels yesterday took us into Chicago, we had three goals: 1) Get a free cupcake from Sprinkles Chicago when they tweet their word of the day. 2) Get an italian lemonade from Mario’s on Taylor Street. 3) Find a restaurant that put peanut butter in their egg rolls. So the internet search began.

It turns out there were a few restaurants that put peanut butter in their egg rolls, but for convenience and decent reviews, we decided on Seven Treasures Cantonese Cuisine at 2312 S Wentworth in the heart of Chinatown in Chicago. My taste buds were delighted that our goals were achieved this day, my diet plan – not so much, but with the Sprinkles Whisper-of-The-Day being “Jackpot” we scored free vanilla milk-chocolate cupcakes, had a watermelon italian ice at Mario’s, and I was able to try an egg roll made with peanut butter in it, and I must say it was very tasty, tasty enough to make me second guess the next time I’m craving an egg roll and now I’m going to have to decide between Chinatown Cafe and Seven Treasures.

With the day complete my plight is this: Have you ever had an egg roll with peanut butter in it?

That’s it for this plight! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Would You Ever “Be a Flirt” and “Raise Your Shirt”?

Sure, this plight mostly applies to the ladies, although I suppose dudes can partake in this as well, but as I was driving around the other day I was coming upon a truck, and the back of the truck was kind of dirty. That’s not highly unusual, but as I got closer I noticed some writing on the back of the truck, obviously done by hand, in the dirt of the truck. I figured it would just be the proverbial “Wash me,” or some other request for some cleanliness, but then the words started to appear: “Be a flirt, raise your shirt,” and I wondered how that was working out for the truck driver. The person somewhat fascinated with statistics in me then began to wonder if it does work well, what locations seem to be the “flirtiest,” and also thought that it might be an interested study for the trucker to partake in on his quest for topless women (I’m assuming he’s looking for the ladies to flirt, and not the men), thereby knowing he could request more hauling in a certain part of the country so that his handwritten instructions, in the dirt, on the back of his truck, could be best utilized.

Granted requests such as this are not that unusual, as seeing the truck also reminded me of the radio duo of “Opie and Anthony,” who promoted “W.O.W”, a.k.a. “Whip ’em Out Wednesdays” where the ladies were supposed to whip out their boobs to whomever had a “W.O.W.” sign prominently posted, and we have all heard stories of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, where flashing ta-tas for beads is the norm, but in the end I plight: Would you ever “Be a flirt” and “Raise your shirt”?

That’s it for this plight! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Should Led Zeppelin be Filed Under “L” or “Z”?

I didn’t watch Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention, but as I was checking my Twitter feed while it was going on Phil Rosenthal (@phil_rosenthal) tweeted “Last time Zeppelin was mentioned at a GOP convention, it was an actual zeppelin.” to which @csupp replied and Phil retweeted “If Ryan’s playlist files Led Zeppelin under Z, he’s doing it wrong.” It was in response to Paul Ryan referencing the music on his iPod stating “My playlist starts with AC/DC and it ends with Zeppelin.”, which I suppose is correct if you reference Led Zeppelin as just Zeppelin, but then in my head I started obsessing over it. I checked my iPhone, and sure enough Led Zeppelin was filed under “L,” so I felt secure in my years of having a CD collection with my Zeppelin music filed under “L,” and then I wondered in my head “Maybe Paul Ryan doesn’t have any music after the letter “L”? But that can’t be right, I mean we know he likes Rage Against the Machine, but maybe he doesn’t include them on his iPod anymore after being put down by Tom Morello?

My obsession didn’t stop there. Nope, I then wondered “Who really is the first group on Mr. Ryan’s playlist?” Maybe he just didn’t want to seem soft and admit to an Abba song every once in a while, and then, of course, I obsessed “Since AC/DC is in all caps, does that make it come before Abba so he is right, anyway?” Then there is the truth about who the last group is on his iPod, I mean, it shouldn’t be Led Zeppelin, should it? Doesn’t the man have some ZZ Top, easily the last group on many a playlist, but maybe he’s a closet Zebrahead fan (that’s the second-to-last group on my playlist) and isn’t one for songs of sharp dressed men nor men with long beards, then I thought there was no way he was a Zebrahead fan, they of a catchy song called “Playmate of the Year.” And so, the important question to ask at the upcoming Ryan-Biden debate should be “Mr. Ryan, what really is the last group on your playlist?”, but for now I just have a plight: Should Led Zeppelin be filed under “L” or “Z”?

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Have You Ever Gotten Caught in a Speed Trap?

On my way to a client there is a construction zone with a daily speed trap, well, I suppose the better term might be “Construction Zone Traffic Enforcement Area,” that seems like shooting fish in a barrel for the police as I would say three out of the five days a week the police have already pulled someone over and are writing a ticket for, I’m assuming, speeding through the work zone. The thing is that it isn’t that crazy a work zone, just a simple crossover for some bridge reconstruction, reducing the traffic to one lane in each direction, at a reasonable 35 miles per hour, down from 45 MPH. However, I can see how people easily blow through it, as it does come off a traffic light, is at the bottom of hill, and totally lends itself to a perfect place for the police to sit, at the end of the construction zone by some traffic barricades, just picking off the speeding cars with a flick of a radar gun.

As I drive past every day, very much aware of the 35 MPH on my speedometer, it tends to always, for whatever reason, remind me of the only speeding ticket I ever received, years and years ago on a trip back to Chicago from my old homestead in Ohio, when I was ticketed by aircraft doing about 65 in a 55. The highway patrol had a nice set-up going, with I’m assuming an airplane overhead radioing down to the patrolmen on the ground, who, as cars were approaching a work zone and naturally slowing down, had men on the side of the road pretty much just pointing at every other car and directing them to pull over to the side of the road and get their comeuppance. I would say they had to have about 1,000 cars pulled over (okay, probably about 10), and it sucks bad enough getting a ticket, but it sucks even worse sitting there, waiting and watching officers just go from car to car, ticket book in hand, and knowing you really have no shot at getting out of your penalty for not obeying the speed limit. When the officer got to my car I was very congenial, already had my license and registration ready, nicely thanked the man for my “reminder” to follow the traffic laws, and drove away trying desperately to learn my lesson for the next four hours driving in my car.

With that is today’s daily plight: Have you ever gotten caught in a speed trap?

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Do You Like Howard Stern on America’s Got Talent?

First I will say that I am a little biased as I have always been a Howard Stern fan. Okay, maybe I haven’t always been a Howard Stern fan as when he first started hitting the airwaves I originally thought “Who is this blowhard on the radio? I don’t need to listen to his New York City crap when I’ve got our awesome radio dudes in Chicago!” And at the time we had some awesome radio dudes in Chicago. Slowly, though, their shows got cut, and I would occasionally check in with Howard’s show, then check in a little more, than listen every day, then order Sirius Satellite radio specifically because Howard went there, and then be sad when he scaled back his show. Alas, though, I have turned into a fan, and yes, like most fans, wish he would work seven days a week and never take a vacation, but so be it.

In any case, knowing how he was on his radio show I always felt he would make a great judge on a reality TV show, mostly because as I would listen to him comment about things like “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent” on his radio show, even if he didn’t care for a particular singer nor act, he always had a valid opinion and could relate it to the entertainment world. With that I was excited to hear he was coming to “America’s Got Talent,” although I know there would be some blow-back from people whom all they knew him for were stories of fart jokes and interviews with porn stars, yet there he was, on the judge’s table next to Sharon Osbourne, able to throw down against Howie Mandel and showing a general concern for contestants yet still being able to have fun with them. He is that guy who isn’t afraid to hold back, will tell a person like it is, and just as important, explain that their act is good, just not great enough, or that he knows in the theater the act is great, but it probably won’t translate to us, the viewer at home. He does all of this without a British accent, and he brought back “Horse” a few weeks ago on the “Judges” Choice” show, a man who has an immeasurable talent of being able to take a shot in the nuts over and over again, and who can’t appreciate that?

That brings me to today’s daily plight: Do you like Howard Stern on “America’s Got Talent?”

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Do You Count Your Money After Getting It From an ATM?

I vaguely remember the first time I used an ATM (I shall do my best not to call it an ATM machine during this plight, as then I am really calling it an Automated Teller Machine machine, which drives me crazy when people do that, but I digress). It was around 1985, and I was given my first ATM card by my parents so that they could put money in an account for me, and I could easily withdraw it while I was at college. The ATM has come a long way since those early machines, okay, now that I think about it, not really. I remember the machine I used, it was in the Commons building at Illinois Institute of Technology, and as you would do today you would put in your card, punch in your PIN (Which should never be called a PIN number, thereby calling it a Personal Identification Number number), and out would spew your cash. About the only difference between then and now was that to make a deposit you had to put your checks or money in an envelope, whereas now the newer ATM’s don’t need an envelope when you make a deposit.

Back then then geek in me always dreamed things would change with the ATM, like instead of needing a card and a PIN they would have retina scans to identify you, but alas, we are still tied down with that ATM card, however, the geek in me also generally trusted the machine to give me the right amount of moolah, and I also remember that I don’t think I even counted my money when I made a withdrawal. The reason I thought about this is that the other day I re-noticed my wife taking money out of an ATM and then counting it, and it occurred to me that it was something I never really did. I guess I always figured what would I do if the amount was wrong? Sure, the ATM’s have those cameras on them, so should I fan out the money if front of the camera while mouthing “Hey, you didn’t give me all of my money!”, and then call the bank hoping that they believed me that the machine screwed up? I suppose if there was an epic fail in the amount of money the machine dispensed I would try to do something about it, but seriously, if the machine shorted me a twenty-spot, would I really take the time to call the bank? Sadly, probably not.

So that leads me to today’s plight: Do you count your money after getting it from an ATM?