This is the place for my rants, raves, reviews and just general "stuff". May you be amused, enlightened, and perhaps even a little pissed off.


Liability WTF?!?!?

Yesterday I stopped in the local outdoors outfitter type store Gander Mountain. I had a few moments while my takeout food was cooking at a nearby restaurant, so I thought I would go over and pick up some carabiners for my son's backpacking trip in a couple of weeks and Gander should have a good selection. After his last backpacking trip, he has expressed an interest in getting a carabiner to attach his water bottle to his belt for convenience sake. So... I go search the camping section, no carabiners. I kind of search around randomly, thinking they may be on an aisle display or something. Eventually I give in and go up to the checkout counter and ask. I did so with trepidation, as its not in my nature to ask such stupid questions and I feared that they would tell me exactly where they should obviously be. The response that I got was quite befuddling. The clerks responded that they don't sell carabiners to "liabilities sake" and that "apparently people had been hurt climbing with them" and that "they would have to keep a qualified climbing instructor on staff to sell carabiners". Apparently attaching his water bottle to his belt was much more dangerous than I thought. When they told me this, my jaw hit the floor, as I was absolutely aghast at how stupid this was. It wasn't until later that I truly was able to behold the full extent of the irony, as Gander Mountain is a huge seller of guns, knives, and fire-starting technology. That is more than just a little messed up. The saddest aspect of this tale is that I will have to go to Walmart to live on the dangerous side and get a, gasp, carabiner.


McDonald's Surprise

Periodically I run upon things that astound me. Not clever things, or complex things, just things that make a great deal of sense and probably should have been self-evident previously. In this case, the surprise came in a most unexpected place, namely McDonalds. Our 15 yr old son and I were going to take a quick trip to pick something up about 170 miles away in Cedar Rapids, IA and we would come right back. As the trek wasn't on an interstate, or similar, I was uncertain about what to expect along the way. Usually when we travel, we stop at McDonald's drive-thru's and are quickly back on the road. It's just our typical routine and I was interested in finding where Mickey D's were along the way to catch supper at some point. So, of course, I go to the McD's corporate website figuring that they have a restaurant locator that I could use. Lo and behold they had one, but they also had a trip planner. I expected to iteratively check for restaurants in the larger towns along the way, which would be somewhat time consuming. Instead the trip planner was much more like mapquest driving directions in that it had me enter the starting and ending points and it showed the route with McD's dutifully annotated along the way. It also had extra useful info like whether there was playland's and if it was a stand-alone store or not, which would be useful for the just hitting the drive-thru. Furthermore, it had the distances from your starting point to help plan which one you would stop at for the given target time. Absolutely brilliant and useful! The horrible thing is that now I will come to expect such good stuff from other restaurant sites and be pissed off if they don't have it.