January 24, 2014

A Tale of Two Shitties

On April 8, 2013, the Star-Tribune wrote:

In contrast, the Minnesota exchange is expected to have these features available this fall, making our state exchange both easy and attractive to use for businesses and their workers. It’s clear that the state team working on the exchange’s development put a high priority on meeting business needs. In turn, that should boost the confidence of the business community in this new marketplace as fall enrollment nears.

Fast forward to January 24, 2014:

In measured, almost clinical tones, outside experts called in to review the state’s new MNsure insurance marketplace delivered a grim diagnosis of the fledgling website’s condition. Just two months before another key deadline to sign up for 2014 coverage, MNsure has deep technical design flaws, unreliable functionality and a woefully understaffed call center — problems that make it unlikely initial enrollment projections will be met.

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January 13, 2014

Never Feed Him After Midnight


I simply have to learn Photoshop. MS Paint just isn't cutting it.

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January 02, 2014

Seared Into My Memory

The retail giant, Sears, is pulling up stakes at the Apache Mall, thereby leaving a gaping hole in the mall shopping experience. It's almost impossible to imagine Apache Mall without Sears, because it's existed there for as long as I can remember.

Some 20 years or so ago, I bought a Dungeons & Dragons game from that Sears for a Macintosh Performa 405 computer. The game consisted of six floppy disks, so I knew it was state-of-the-art. So, it's difficult to consider Sears being no more, at least in the mall.

Still, time marches on, so Sears has to go. But, they didn't blink out without a retail assault that included sending out employees bundled in 50 layers of clothes to stand outside in frozen wintry awefulness holding signs that read "Up to 60% off!" I assume that referred to going out of business sale prices, but it may have been announcing how many fingers the sign holders had lost to frostbite. Maybe both.

Both my kids had to undergo haircuts at the mall while Sears was undergoing its last retail death throes, so I suggested to my wife that we stop in and pick over the bones.

It was quite the surreal scene, what with the throngs of shoppers eager to snap up the retail remains, and signs announcing "Everything must go, down to the bare walls!" I wasn't sure I wanted to see Sears' bare walls, because that sounded somewhat intimate and shameful, but I felt compelled to visit the spot where I purchased that Dungeons & Dragons game two decades ago.

Most of the remaining merchandise had been moved to the ground level, but the escalators were still operating, which meant my children simply HAD to ride them. The scene on the second floor was somewhat shocking: it was just a bunch of empty racks and shelves bathed in florescent light.

But there, on the floor, were two full size bed mattresses. They were the floor model samples, but they were in excellent condition, and I immediately saw my wife's eyes gleam excitedly. I knew right then and there that we were about to own those two mattresses.

My four-year-old boy had long since outgrown his crib bed, and my three-year-old daughter is not far behind. My wife had been mattress shopping on and off for the last couple months, and I knew, standing in that mostly-empty Sears wasteland, that her mattress search was over.

So, as Sears blinked out of existence from the mall, it nevertheless managed to snag one more purchase out of me and usher in a new sleeping era for my children.

Sears made my children grow out of their cribs. I'm not sure I can ever forgive Sears for that.

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January 01, 2014

Happy New Year

And on the seventh day, God made vaginas, and they were good, but then He made them bleed for no reason, so they weren't too good.

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