Wednesday, April 29, 2009

funerals and weddings

Last week, I learned a little something about myself. This is probably going to be another one of my 'personal' blogs, and less boring. No, I won't go into my lack of success with women. Instead, emotions at certain events.

For those who have been following my tweets and/or statuses on facebook, you probably know there was a recent passing at my workplace. Mary Weiler, who I've worked at Steak 'n Shake with the last 9 1/2 years, died last week. She was an older lady (64) who devoted much of her life to the restaurant industry. (she actually used to own a couple restaurants in E'ville, Catfish Heaven & Marys Fish and BBQ) I saw Mary every day up until early this month. She would always be coming in while I'd be getting ready to leave the place. We'd always catch up on our work gossip and random things. I still can't believe she's gone. I don't even think its sunk in yet. It's ironic to say that her last words were probably spoken at S'n S. During a busy lunch rush, she collapsed in the servers station after complaining earlier of dizziness. I wasn't there, but everyone said it was a freaky scene, and I can understand. As 911 was being called, she hesitated and was going to get back up. While she was laying down, one of her last words before her speech became slurred was '(Table) 22 needs a hot fudge sundae, while (table) 23 needs their drinks....'. It was later discovered she had a brain aneurysm. She never recovered after 6 hours of surgery, while going into a coma. The family decided to unplug her when her husband came into town.

Last week, we were talking about possibly going to the funeral home for her, and Chelsea, one of our managers, was saying how those places freak her out. I've been to several visitations, as well as funerals, so it's easy to say I'm no stranger to them. People even said that those places are easy to get emotional. I believe them. But despite of that, I admitted that I don't get emotional at death. It's not that it's a guy thing (so they say), but I was told years ago by someone that death 'is a part of life that we all go through'. After all, its the one thing we all have in common besides being born. Don't get me wrong, I do find death to be very sad, regardless of how they died. Maybe its the 'as long as it ain't me' thing or 'they finally get to rest now after years of living a good life', but for some reason I never cry or get emotional at funeral homes. I do look back on all the memories me and the deceased person had together, and I always try to come up with at least one thing that influenced me from them. We're all placed on this earth to help people in every way, after all.

I do admit, however, I have gotten emotional at a couple funerals. One was when my maternal grandfather died back in '02. Whenever I see my mom get emotional, I get emotional too. There's something about her that channels me.

I told Chelsea during our funeral conversation that I get really emotional at weddings more than funerals. She said that I must be more about the happy events. I suddenly realized she was right. I haven't been to that many weddings (since I'm always left off from the guest list lol), but when I see happiness among many people, I guess that's what triggers my eyes. Maybe its because I know that I'm witnessing a part of history in their lives, or maybe its because I'm envisioning my own wedding and I can't wait until I get my turn at marriage. The same goes for other positive things too, like when the St. Louis Cardinals won the 2006 World Series. I was in downtown St. L when it all happened, and it was the ultimate morale booster for the city probably ever since Mark McGwire hit home run 62 (another event where I got emotional). It may sound silly, but when I see someone work hard, pay their dues, and get something they deserved, then I can't help but feel happy for them.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

some of my favorite blogs

I thought I'd share some of my favorite blogs that I usually read every week from people, mostly famous.

Charlie Daniels. Yes, that Charlie Daniels. If you're 18 y/o, you're probably thinking oh yeah that devil went down to georgia guy! I played it on Guitar Hero! Whatever. This man definitely knows his stuff in addition to his musical talents. On his website or his soapbox (, he writes a column every 3 or 4 days and gives us updates on his thoughts. Its mostly politics, traditional American life, music business (sometimes), and just about anything. It may, however, offend people that voted for Obama as Charlie does show alot of feelings against Obama, Nancy Pelosi's and Harry Reid's policies. He also talks about how America is slipping on traditional values, and such. The man is 72 y/o and always contributes his two cents on society. How this man takes the time to write blogs, perform, tour, and raise a farm is way beyond me. One of my friends that lived in Nashville used to work at Books-a-Million and she claimed that Mr. Daniels spent a lot of time reading there. She even got to meet Charlie! And by the way, he definitely hates Guitar Hero especially after they misrepresented his signature song. You can also check out his blogs at his myspace page.

Another one of my favorites is Bill O'Reilly. I know, he's a controversial figure (especially for those who actually watch Keith Olbermann and that psychopath Rachel Maddow). But his blogs are very fair and balanced. You may call me crazy, but he admits he's not a perfect human being and he's liberal on a lot of issues. Remember, if you got the #1 talk show, you gotta be as great as possible, and stick to your advertisers guns. So that's why a lot of people think Bill O'Reilly is a jerk. Available at also keep up with the music scene with Chart Beat at It pretty much details what the most popular songs are and who's got new songs and albums coming out. Where else would you find news about Al Green debuting at No. 88 on the R&B chart? Or be introduced to new people like Lady Gaga? Unfortunately, the original guy who did Chart Beat, Fred Bronson was displaced a month ago and left behind a great legacy. Bronson was the guy who also authored several music-type books.

So, there you have it. Check them out! Let me know what you like.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

for the love of cow

If you were to choose between ice cream and cheese (as foods you would have to give up), what would it be? Most people said ice cream, mostly because with cheese, there's over 1000 things to do with it. Same goes for ice cream, but there's other sweet things we can rot our teeth with. With me being lactose intolerant, I can only eat as much ice cream serving as a Jr. Blizzard anyway. And some types of cheese don't bother me.

But I've pondering for the longest time while working at S'n S about America's obsession with cheese. Okay maybe not America, but teenyboppers, college kids, drunk people, whatever. I must have had at least 30 orders in a row with at least one side of cheese sauce. This was right after midnight, where all the kids come out. It's mostly the ladies that get it. Sometimes I think maybe they're trying to be hip by getting cheese fries or that's just the first thing they think of when they think of eating late. But I've worked during the noon and evening shifts as well and we get several orders of cheese fries. Our cheese sauce is good, but I've had better.

When my friend Marc was still working there a year 1/2 ago, we had this conversation about people who love cheese so much. As a philosopher/thinker/people observer, he came up with a theory on why people are hooked on cheese sauce. He believed that there is something that passes down from the mother to their child (I guess, in genetics terms, or dna, whatever), that secretly lies in the dairy part. It's the kind of secret stuff that makes humans wanting more and more. But remember, this is just a theory. It sounds about right though!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

remembering '94

1994 to me was a great year in pop culture and one to remember. For some reason, this always sticks out while remembering the past. It was a year of transition for me as I went from elementary to junior high that year. When I did the 90s show, I would always say that it was the 'greatest year in alternative music'. It pretty much marked the end of grunge rock music (sadly), but it ushered in a change in a new experimental way of music. So many new acts at that time broke out in '94. Beck, the Counting Crows, the Gin Blossoms were becoming big acts that year. It was all capped off with America's new punk revolution when the Offspring and Green Day finally got radio play that year. If you look on any alternative rock chart from the last year, you'll see both bands still putting out music. The Cranberries, Liz Phair and Sheryl Crow were high on the alternative scene as well. It was a great year to listen to the radio, in other words. But sad to say, it wouldn't last that long for some of the alternative acts as they were replaced by pop-punkers and the name 'alternative' would be changed to 'new rock'. By the end of the 90s, the 'alternative' scene would be Limp Bizkit and a bunch of corporate-sounding bands.

It was 15 years ago last week that Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was found dead. It pretty much marked the end of an era for grunge rock, but it would live on. While I do think Nirvana is overrated, I do believe Nirvana put out good stuff. I actually remember where I was when I first heard the news. I was vacationing with my folks in Lake of the Ozarks. But I wasn't as shocked, as I knew his lifestyle wasn't all good. I remember previously that he was in a coma after od'ing. I remember seeing the analysis on 60 Minutes that week as well, as pundits worried that teens and college kids would follow him as an icon.

I also remember another prominent figure that passed away that year. John Candy was one of my favorite comedic actors when I was younger. I remember watching the movies Uncle Buck and Summer Rental and seeing his genius shine. He also played small parts and pulled them real well. In fact, when I was little, Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and several SNL alumni would be the ultimate funnymen at the time. Now, we have a frat pack going on in the comedy movie world. Sadly, I don't find some of these guys funny at all, like Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill. Steve Carell and Ben Stiller aren't too bad. But what's sad is that a lot of 16 to 25-year olds probably don't have a clue who John Candy was. In the upcoming Spaceballs blu-ray, there will be a John Candy featurette on there. I hope this is the tribute we've all been waiting for. I still can't believe 1994 was 15 years ago. Where were you in '94?

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's Like That

(I decided to do a two-parted blog. The title is inspired by one of the classic songs in the history of rap music, 'Its Like That' by Run DMC (who was just inducted in the Rock and Roll HOF). The song has lyrics that actually make sense, and they related to what times were like in 1983 and it looks like times are going back to the way they were. Give it a listen sometime!)

I thought I'd dedicate this blog to those who have lost jobs or have loved ones/close friends who have lost them as well. I was talking to a friend about this issue (his wife recently lost her job) and I was pretty much telling him everyday I am thankful that I am employed. He made a quote that I wished that everyone else today would agree on: A job is a job is a job.

Sure, I do feel kind of weird that I'm still working at the same place that I have since high school. And a lot of people are still shaking their heads that I have almost been there for eleven years. I do complain alot about my job, since they have done so many changes. Don't get me wrong, I do like change. But too many changes at the same time is too much for anyone. For as little as I get paid an hour, and with me not having a title (I chose not to have one), I'm pretty much doing almost the same work as an assistant manager. They do feel me on that one, but most of it is beyond their control. As I said, many changes have taken place, such as moving stuff around and eliminating shelves and stuff so the company can get money back for selling the shelves as scrap metal and stuff. If you've been to Steak 'n Shake lately, you'll notice a lot of changes to the menu. We've eliminated our taco salads and yogurt shakes to adding hot dogs (or in SnS terms, Steak Franks) and perhaps our most popular new addition, the Steakburger shooters. I'm already getting tired of making those little things hee hee. But it definitely shows that we're competing with all the other big-name restaurants. Another complaint I've had about the job is that I've been working with so many new people lately. And most of them are knuckleheads who don't really care as much to be there and make money. Working overnights has a lot of positives and a lot of negatives, but it has been taking ahold of me.

Overall, I've found that SnS has been my comfort zone for me. Some people are great to work with, and some (again) are just plain knuckleheads that don't deserve to be there. After all, I've seen a million faces and I've rocked them all. A lot of people look up to me (seemingly?) and I'm always the person to go to on certain issues. Sometimes it can be too much. It's been my second home for many years now. As I'm looking into my next career change, I do consider myself lucky for still having a job. That may sound silly to some because of me having a college degree, and I'm on the same level as several people I work with that didn't finish high school. I don't find it degrading at all, as some may feel about me. After all, a job is a job is a job. I still have people ask me when am I gonna find my 'real job', but I don't let it bother me anymore since these clueless people don't keep up with how times are.

I think about other people who work in their great professions all the time and how they feel secure or not. Especially those who come to Steak 'n Shake all the time and those who can afford a big meal for them and their friends at 3 in the morning. Sometimes I ask myself, what recession? Our business arguably has increased and I feel it will continue to do so as the weather gets better. I've never seen it so busy in March.

I also think about those who have lost their jobs and have a hard time finding a new one. I know they have to make plenty of sacrifices and change their lifestyles a bit. But I do hope they learn from everything from the good to the bad. I would dispense advice, but it would be wrong for me to do so (for personal reasons). I will say this: there are over 1000 different ways to make money. No, I don't mean get-rich-quick, but I would experiment with new things as time progresses.