STEVE BRANDON'S RECLINER OF RAGE: KFC, GIVE ME A BREAK!
(And please don't sue me, Pierre Bernard and John Stossel, for ripping off the titles of your respective television segments.)The KFC on Merivale in Nepean.
Last night, my parents and pregnant sister drove back to Montreal to see my sister's friend Natalie perform in the annual Becket Players
show over in Dollard des Ormeaux. Back when we still lived in Pincourt, I enjoyed going to those things
, but, because of our two rather large dogs
, one of us needs to stay home as leaving them alone for 7 to 8 hours is not an option if we don't want our floors to become Poop and Pee Central. (And Sam
, due to having rather extreme separation anxiety, has a tendency to tear stuff up if left alone for too long.)
As is always the case when they leave me alone at home for the evening, my mother left me money so I could order my usual Spicy Big Crunch sandwich meal from Cluckin' Bell
... erm, I mean, KFC.
Being the late-supper-preferer that I am, I didn't even call to place my order until about 9:30 p.m., and that's only because I know Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack
... pardon me, KFC doesn't let you order too much later than that.
I was surprised when I called to hear them answer the phone in French first. That sort of thing might get some Ottawan's knickers in a twist, especially those with the "Us vs. Them" mentality who have the tendency to make angry phone calls to 580 CFRA, but I don't mind. Makes me nostalgic for living in Quebec, and I think the local French-speaking community in Ottawa is generally underserved by those large corporations who, all too often, have a hard time wrapping their head around the concept of the existence of both Quebec Anglophones and Ontario Francophones.
So, I placed my order for the Spicy Big Crunch meal, which consists of a Spicy Big Crunch sandwich, fries, and a can of Pepsi, and the girl takes my order, but then puts me on hold for half a minute while she checks something.
She comes back on the phone and says that they can't deliver my order because it's below the minimum limit for orders. I'd have to order something else, which I'm a little reluctant to do because I'm fat enough already. So I had to order 5 Hot Wings just for the price to be sufficient.
I enjoyed the dinner anyway, but what's the deal with the minimum order? I've ordered for delivery the exact same meal a few dozen times before over the past half decade, both when I was in Pincourt and here in Nepean, and also when I was staying part time in the apartment in downtown Montreal, and I don't recall Kentucky Fried Chicken ever having quibbled with a minimum order price. Is this something to do with gas prices (even if my current house is a pretty short drive from the Merivale KFC, which I presume is where the food came from)?
I understand the concept of "minimum order" in theory, but that should only be applicable if I'm paying the same price as what I'd pay at the counter for the meal. However, I paid something like a $6 premium beyond the cost of the meal and the sales tax to have it delivered, and that's before
Bottom line, America, if KFC is going to tack on the delivery cost in addition to the cost of the meal anyway, there should be no "minimum order" level.Chokey Chicken
, pardon me, KFC, give me a break!
JUST ONE MORE FERRARI PIC, I SWEAR!
(At least this week...)
I intend to get around to doing a proper Formula One album eventually (probably not soon... I have a lot of pictures to scan, and I'm a chronic procrastinator), but the most famous Formula One driver in the world drives for Ferrari, so I decided to add just one Michael Schumacher picture to my Ferrari Passion album
.A sequential photo-montage of photos of Michael Schumacher getting into his Formula One Ferrari car in the 2001 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.
I've put these photos on the Internet before, but I don't think it was as a single file. I'm including it just to toss a bone to those people who might otherwise complain that I did a Ferrari album without including a Formula One pic.
In other news... today I finally went to the Royal Bank and transferred my bank account from the Pincourt branch to the Merivale branch. Only about 16 months since moving to Nepean. Hey, I already said that I was a chronic procrastinator in this entry, and it's not like I was using the account for anything except for depositing my GST rebate cheques every three months.
The bank teller who served me looked kind of like a mix of Luke Wilson and Fletch
-era Chevy Chase. Just an observation.
I needed cheques anyway and, just for the hell of it, I ordered a batch of personalized cheques with pictures of kittens on them.
After that, I walked over to The Comic Book Shoppe
on Clyde. There was this collection of mild yaoi one-shot manga stories called Almost Crying
that I saw on their site a couple of weeks back that I thought sounded cute, but I didn't see it anywhere in the store itself.
I also needed a couple of T-shirts because most of the t-shirts I have now have huge holes in them, except for the Sailor Moon t-shirt I only wear on special occasions
and one of Harley Quinn from the Batman
animated series that my mother got me for my birthday. Even the Ranma ½
t-shirt that I've had since 1997
, and which is kind of my own personal version of Jerry Seinfeld's "Golden Boy", at least in terms of durability, now has a gash across the chest exactly at the level of panda-form Genma Saotome's slit-like eyes. I browsed the limited selection of anime t-shirts, but, not being particularly into Fullmetal Alchemist
and never having seen even a single episode of Trigun
, which was never shown on television in Canada, I didn't see any potential "Baby Blue"'s to take its place. Maybe I'll get a decent picture of Kiyone
and make my own t-shirt at the mall. But I'm at the age where I should probably start thinking of getting a few blank t-shirts without cartoon characters on them.
I didn't wlk home empty-handed, though. I bought a discounted DVD of the final (theatrical) Urusei Yatsura
movie, Urusei Yatsura: The Final Chapter
, which I've seen before, but that was at the old Animate club in Université de Montréal about 11 years ago. This particular film, where Lum stages a rematch of the intergalactic game of "tag" from the first episode in order to finally get Ataru to admit that he loves her, was one of the primary sources of Urusei Yatsura
footage used in the Matthew Sweet video "I've Been Waiting"
, and, while I know it's not on the same level as Mamoru Oshii's Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer
, my absolute favourite anime film, I still remembered finding it charming. I'd probably have preferred to get a TV volume of Urusei Yatsura
, but the Comic Book Shoppe doesn't keep those in stock and I didn't feel like ordering anything.
I can't wait for the day when I'll finally be able to buy all things Haruhi Suzumiya there, but it's still brand new in Japan, so the merchandise, official or otherwise, doesn't seem to have arrived at most North American comic book stores. (I doubt the Diamond catalogue will have anything listed until the TV series is licensed.)
THE ENRON FERRARI!
One of the photos I scanned for my "Ferrari Passion" album
was this photo of a Ferrari 360 Modena with a rather unfortunate sponsor... Enron
The Enron scandal was one I could never fully wrap my head around beyond "the books were cooked by crooks", which is a simple-enough concept for me to grasp. However, try and explain the Enron scandal using bigger, non-rhyming, financial forensic investigation-type words and my eyes glaze over.
Thinking that the car and driver probably doesn't have much of anything to do with the sponsor beyond the driver taking their money to have their tilted E logo painted on the hood, I decided to try looking him up.
His name is... Ken Rice.
Turns out that my suspicions were wrong. Ken Rice didn't just drive a car with the Enron logo on the "bonnet", he was the CEO of Enron Broadband Services, Inc.
Here's a rather sunny article about the guy from about half a year before the scandal broke
. The first hobbies he lists are "Ferrari and Formula One auto racing".
The article also mentions, somewhat presciently, that Enron was develping "a telecom model based on its gas and energy model". The fraud model. Ken Rice grossly understated the losses that the broadband division was incurring, and, in 2003, he was one of seven Enron broadband executives "charged in a 218-count criminal indictment
that alleged conspiracy, securities and wire fraud, money laundering, and insider trading". He denied any wrongdoing for a year, before agreeing to a plea bargain to become a witness for the prosecution, agreeing to "to serve up to ten years in prison, forfeit $13.7 million in cash and property, pay a $1 million fine, and tell all."
In February, Ken Rice testified against Enron executive Jeff Skilling
"That positioned Rice as a voice in court against his old dirt-biking buddy. Rice testified that it was at Skilling's urging that he lied about the state of Enron's broadband network to pump up the company's stock -- and that Skilling lied too. Skilling, he said, was determined to use broadband to add $10 billion to $20 billion to the company's market value -- "one way or another."
"Did Skilling fairly and accurately portray the true financial condition of EBS?" Berkowitz asked.
"No," Rice responded. Skilling presented the layoffs in the broadband unit as good news, Rice explained. "The reality was, we were cutting people across the board because our cost structure was too high," Rice told the jury.
Despite the restructuring, things got worse in the second quarter, Rice said in testimony. "We were selling the future revenues of our content services business," he said, "so we could take profits on it today."
Rice referred to the uncertain accounting practice as "one more hit of crack cocaine."
"I felt so much pressure to make our quarterly earnings," Rice said.
"Did you hit your numbers (for the quarter)?" Berkowitz asked.
"Yes we did," Rice responded."
So, is Rice himself corrupt, or is he just the product of a corrupt corporate culture at Enron, too afraid to blow the whistle until it was too late?
I don't know enough about that sort of thing to really have an opinion, but I like the notoriety behind that photo I took and I sure hope the Feds didn't take away his Ferrari, and I hope his stint in "Federal Pound Me in the Ass Prison"
is short so he can get back to what really is most important in life: racing.
For more Ferrari-related scandal fun, be sure to read up on Stefan Eriksson
, his scheme to dupe investors in Tiger's failed Gizmondo handheld gaming system
, and his spectacular high speed crash of a "stolen" Ferrari Enzo
FERRARI PICTURES! BECAUSE WHO DOESN'T LIKE LOOKING AT FERRARIS?
In my new Flickr account
, I uploaded a whole bunch of my "greatest hit" photos, including a new high-resolution scan of my picture of a 1/18th scale Mattel Hot Wheels Ferrari 355 in front of a real F-355 on Montreal's Sherbrooke street
Yesterday, I mowed the lawn for the first time this year. (The Honda lawnmower woke up fairly easily after lying dormant in our unheated garage for half a year. I had to choke it to get the engine to turn over, but I did most times I started it last year. Maybe I had to pull the cord a couple of times more often than for the usual weekly start-up, but, other than that, nothing out of the ordinary happened with the mow. I did get all snuffily and congested from the grass and dandelion pollen... thank you, anti-pesticide spraying bylaws for making my allergies worse then they would be if we could spray our lawns like the good old days... and had to take a generic Benadryl which sapped my energy for the rest of the day.)
Since I don't have an iPod, and can't really lug around a CD player when I'm pushing around a gasoline-powered mower, I tend to do a lot of quality creative thinking while I'm mowing. Like Hank Hill. So I thought, "Hey, people like Ferraris, and I've taken several rolls of film of them before, mostly on the racetrack at sideshow races during the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, so why haven't I yet done any kind of Ferrari album?"
So, I started working on that after I got back inside, and now, over in my Fotopic account
, I've started an album entitled, somewhat uncreatively, Ferrari Passion
, which sounds like a good title, and it is, but I was lazy and somewhat ripped-off the "passion" from the title of the Sega Dreamcast/arcade game F355 Challenge: Passione Rossa
, though I translated it from Italian into English.
These are some of the best shots of cars I've ever taken, excluding that one photo of an Asian girl snapping a photo of a classic Austin-Healey car
which is still my most favourite car photo that I've ever taken. I don't know why I never scanned most of these before.
Just for Google Image search purposes, since Google doesn't seem to index any photo I post using Blogger itself for whatever reason, here are reduced-size pictures at Photobucket of a few of the highlights.The 1/18th scale Hot Wheels Ferrari 355 against a backdrop of the wheel of an actual Ferrari.A "forced perspective" shot of the Hot Wheels Ferrari F-355 toy car "driving" on Aylmer street in Montreal (with my hand holding it).A Ferrari 360 Modena on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve racetrack. Who's the sponsor? ENRON!Two Ferrari 360 Modena cars on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve racetrack in slick conditions because of rain.A turquoise green Ferrari 360 Modena that came all of the way to Montreal from Orange County Ferrari in Costa Mesa, California!
I haven't finished adding pictures to the album, but there's already plenty to see there. I'll also put the photos in order later.
I also took the opportunity to take a cheap shot at NASCAR in the album description:
For the race photos, I like that it's honest-to-god stock car racing using street legal cars that you can actually buy at a dealership (well, if you have that kind of money), not just race cars with a fiberglass shell that's made to look, cosmetically, like an actual model of car but which, other than maybe the chassis, bears no resemblance to anything you'll find off a NASCAR racetrack.
I'M TRYING OUT FLICKR...
Not that I have any intention of abandoning my Fotopic album
, which I'm very satisfied with, but one of my brothers has got his own account at Flickr
and all his photos are set to "private" and I had to get my own Flickr account if I want to see them.
Since I have a Flickr account anyway, I thought I might as well upload a selection of my "best" photos, all of which I've uploaded at Fotopic, and most of which I've uploaded here at one point or another. If you want to see it, here it is.
I find Fotopic
to be far superior for free accounts, as, while I think there is a maximum size limit for pictures, I haven't exceeded it, and some of those panoramic collage shots
are something like 5000 pixels wide. While I have seen plenty of shots that are at least 2200 pixels wide at Flickr (use the "See Different Sizes" option at the right of the screen), it seems that those are for paid members only, and Flickr will shrink down all pictures to 1024 pixels for free accounts (which is the same size maximum as Blogger).
The advantage of Flickr is that it is much, much more popular than Fotopic. I've heard that it's even surpassed Webshots