Could Businesses Benefit From Sam’s Example? Food-Free Free Samples

Yesterday my wife and I went to Sam’s Club. Although I enjoy simply walking around the place, we always end up spending at least a hundred dollars a trip. We left with full stomachs because of all the samples they give away. We dined on sushi, grilled cheese, beef sticks, chips, nuts, vitamins and breakfast sandwiches. All in all, a well rounded, satisfying meal. It almost made up for the money we spent on things we didn’t necessarily need. It also made me think….

What if other forms of business offered free samples? We will forego discussing free samples from banks. That is something we all might reasonably wish for. Instead, let’s consider some unorthodox free sample examples.

A book store that hands out small chunks cut from books.

A clothing store that hands out pant legs and shirt sleeves.

A video store that allows you to sample small slivers of dvds.

A music store that plays for you a single note or chord…

…a funeral home that hands out mini coffins or bits of corpse…

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…take what’s given to you. If it’s free, it’s worth it.

A don’t…eat every free sample you’re offered. Especially if it’s a business owned by me.

 

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A Few Questions and a Little Advice: Trivialities, Nonsense and Links to Some Substance

A question inspired by the recent drought: How wilted do the trees have to be before you panic and run for the hills? Or in this case,  for the nearest lake or water bottling plant? Until recently, we had received no rain. The last time we got rain was not so recently ago. My wife has some kind of storm tracker app or capability on her phone. We have watched every storm that had potential to reach us either peter out a few towns over or get to within centimeters of us on her screen and veer completely around us. I knew the situation was bad. I have a single, puny tomato despite my ten plants. My ghost pepper plant has but a single fruit. This is either not haunting due to the lack of ghosts produced, or it is very haunting because the plant itself is near death. It isn’t that I don’t water. Apparently I don’t water enough. I didn’t comprehend how bad the situation actually was. My wife commented on how the limbs of the cedar tree in the back yard were nearly touching the ground. She opined that a good rain would cause them to stand up a little. I agreed vocally, but I had my doubts. This tree is huge. Surely it’s capable of sucking sufficient water from deep in the ground. It isn’t wilted, it just has heavy branches, I thought.  Well it rained recently. The branches now stand well off of the ground, just as my wife said they would. I hadn’t realized the severity of our problem. When humongous trees are wilting, it may be time to prepare for the desertification of the local area and seek some moist oasis elsewhere.

A question inspired by a previous experience: Which side do you take in a crazy fight? Many may argue that you could take no side at all, but occasionally one must reside with one or both of the crazies caught up in the conflict. In such a situation it may seem advisable to take up the side of the one with whom you reside most closely or intimately. I won’t give any advice on the proper way to deal with psychotic lunatics because I am not a trained professional. All I’ll say is that, based on my own experience, it may be a good idea to cut all ties and disappear if your right to have an opinion that may differ is not respected.

A question inspired by my mother’s “wisdom”: Does taste not matter? Mom always said, when we would complain that our mashed potatoes had mixed with our stewed beets (which I don’t believe should make it to anyone’s stomach, anyway), “It all gets mixed up in your stomach anyway. Just eat it.” Dearest Mother, my stomach has no taste buds. Live by your own logic and go ahead and enjoy dessert along with your entrée. How about beef stroganoff a la mode, mom? Maybe some peach cobbler pilaf? Strawberry rhubarb wild rice risotto? Oreo orange chicken? Cheesecake cheese pizza? Ok, so the risotto might be ok, actually, but you get the idea from the rest of them. Its perfectly fine if the stuff gets mixed up after I’m done tasting it separately. C’mon mom.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…check out my mom’s blog on dealing with domestic violence if this is something that interests you. She’s much more technologically adept than I am and her page is actually pretty. There are the electronic equivalent of little doilies all over the place. But it is substance as well as elderly bling. carolynsnotsosecretdiary.wordpress.com. You can also check out my wife’s blog diaryofamadstepmomblog.wordpress.com if you are interested in experiences and insights based on step-parenting.

A don’t…judge me for blogging about trivialities and non-sense when those around me seek to offer useful information.

The Weirdest Alien Abduction Account I’ve Ever Stumbled Across or The Bizzarest of the Bizarre

I often find myself in a semi-dark mood. This is not a depressed mood. Rather it is a state of dissatisfaction with the status quo and the mundane. When I am in such a mood, I generally succumb to it by searching for ghost stories, odd conspiracy theories, strange historical events or coincidences and/or accounts of alien encounters.

During one such semi-dark mood, I decided aliens best fit the ambience my mind had established for itself and I searched for encounters I’d never heard of before. The search was quite extensive, since I’ve brooded over the subject quite often and have read many accounts. As I scrolled through details I’d already read, I stumbled upon something new.

And bizarre.

And that’s saying something because E.T. encounter accounts are bizarre by definition. Strange beings with strange powers from strange worlds possessing a strange interest in ordinary humans and farm animals? What’s not bizarre about that?

But a while back I found an account that really takes the cake. Or perhaps I should say instead, it takes the pancake. More precisely I should say that this particular account gives the pancakes.

Allow me to explain.

According to the account I read, a farmer in Wisconsin was in his field when he noticed a strange shiny craft had landed in his back yard. He approached it and a hatch slid open to reveal three creatures that, according to the source, were wearing some sort of beret-like headgear and resembled Frenchmen. The beings held a shiny metallic container out to the farmer and somehow indicated that they needed, of all things, common water. The farmer obliged as many farmers seem wont to do and the beings, in actions reminiscent of Frenchmen rather than aliens, cooked the man some pancakes. The cooking apparatus described sounded to me like some sort of camp stove and the source mentions that it emitted no flame and no other furniture was visible within the interior of the ship. Or tent. Or whatever it was.

After treating the man to the world’s most curious culinary curiosity, the Frenchmen/Aliens/French campers in the American outdoors/Whatever they were took off into the Wisconsin sky. The farmer allegedly ate one of the pancakes and then gave the other to a judge he knew. The judge sent it to Wright Patterson Air Force Base where it was tested and then placed on display. The pancake was found to contain water (obviously), unknown flour (according to the first source I found) and grease. Disgusting. Un-Frenchman-like. Proof positive that it was indeed aliens, rather than Frenchmen, that cooked for this man.

Unfortunately, I cannot find the original source I got this story from. For some of the details and a picture of the farmer holding one of the pancakes, you can visit http://obscurban-legend.wikia.com/wiki/Pancake_Bakers_from_Space. The name of this source takes away from whatever credibility the story may have had to begin with but, let’s face it, the story was never extremely credible.

It is, however, quite entertaining and certainly bizarre.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…believe the tale if you wish. Such stories add a certain, well, not spice…they add a bit of extraterrestrial grease to life that makes the non-greasy (difficult) aspects of life easier to slide through.

A don’t…eat alien pancakes. The one in the photo looks like a sea sponge. Plus, given the ingredients used by the Faux-French, you never know what’s really in store for you. It’s like taking candy from a stranger who is stranger than any of the very strange people that already reside on planet Earth.

P.S. I finally decided it might be fun to do the Twitter thing. If you are a fellow tweet producer and have absolutely nothing better to do with your time, feel free to look me up: William Ennis @sirdonkeylegs. You may or may not regret it. If you do you can always unfollow me.

Thai Tea, Anxiety and a Brush With Death: An Eye Opening Experience

I suffer from anxiety. I have mentioned this in a few previous posts. It is not something I am proud of, but it happens. My brain always knows that there is no real reason to worry, but my body refuses to believe it. I suffer from nausea and sleeplessness even as my mind goes over all the logical reasons why I should be calm and asleep. It makes no sense and frustrates me to no end. I just want to enjoy my life that presents no reason not to be absolutely ecstatic every single day. I have a wonderful, beautiful wife, three amazing children, a house, a job and more food in the fridge than is really necessary.

I love Thai iced tea. It tastes like a sweet tongue depressor. For some reason, I love this flavor. It even seems to dry my mouth out as I drink it. I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do.

Recently I’ve been plagued by severe anxiety. I don’ t know why. I started a college history class, the syllabus of which caused me to not sleep for three nights and break down in tears at work. I work in a jail and broke down in front of my captain. Thankfully, I still have a job. I dropped all my history classes and changed my major. This was right after July 4th and ever since, I’ve experienced nausea every time I’ve signed in to do some work on the English composition class I am taking. My wife thinks that I’m actually suffering from PTSD due to my Army service and the fireworks did something to me. I did dream about my son being blown up in a desert which was quite disturbing, but I still don’t want to believe that I may have some disorder related to the Army.

Until recently I was only able to acquire Thai iced tea at restaurants. Yesterday my family and I found a grocery store that stocks items imported from such places as India, Japan, China and…God be praised…Thailand. I found a bag of Thai iced tea mix and bought it. I restrained myself as long as I could because my wife had company after we got home, but I eventually broke down and brewed a cup as the ladies sat and talked.  The ingredients listed simply “green tea” and I had my doubts as to whether just green tea could taste like a Thai iced tea. After a bit of experimentation, I took a restaurant quality sip. In a fit of carnality, I gulped down the whole glass and sat on the couch, satisfied. As I listened to the world’s most amazing woman chat with her friend about trivialities, I began to feel nauseated. I assumed it was because the children would have to go back to their mom soon and I was missing them before they were gone. As the afternoon wore on, I began to experience what I thought was anxiety and assumed it was related to a rather extensive assignment due that evening. After we dropped the kids off, I was absolutely miserable. We grabbed a burger and I felt a little better after eating.

As I worked on my assignment, my distress continued to worsen. This was despite the fact that the assignment was nowhere near as taxing as I had assumed it would be.

When my throat began to constrict, I became worried for a very real reason. I threw my computer across the bed and bolted for the bathroom.

Long and disgusting story short, I soon felt much better. I finished my assignment and held my wife close as my stomach recovered from its recent severe contractions. At some point she got up and left the room. When she returned she shook me out of my semi-comatose stupor to inform me that the Thai tea mix had a label warning that it could cause cancer and birth defects.

Needless to say, we trashed the crap.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy what you enjoy, but be wary of items that list a single natural ingredient but stain your lips a garish, unnatural shade of orange.

A don’t…drink Thai tea under stressful conditions. Or perhaps any conditions. What a horrid experience.

Perfection Mis-Realized

Human tendency seems to be to meddle with perfection. We find something great and we immediately begin to formulate plans to make it better. Take, for instance, my back yard. When we first moved in, it was perfect. My house sits on 3/4 of an acre, which isn’t massive, but it is fairly huge. The house is on a small hill that slopes away to a beautiful flat meadow of lush, green grass. A large pecan tree stands to the northwest of this, shading a bit of less lush grass which gives way to a stand of bamboo in the far corner. To the north of the meadow is a raised pond planted with waterlilies. Below this, at ground level, sits another pond with waterlilies and lotus flowers. It was beautiful.

And then I decided we should drain one and fill it with sand to make a dig pit for my son. We threw up a swing set and a trampoline for good measure and I cleared off some beautiful grass for a garden. The garden is now a weed patch with a fence around it and it somehow sprouted a few vegetables. It looks like crap.

We mess with perfection. We find something nice and think “Hey, I can spruce this up a little bit.” And it ends up being crap. Either we are too ambitious and do so much stuff that the result is a cluttered mess of half-completed projects or we have no idea what we are doing and we end up turning something beautiful into an eyesore. This is the case with me, at least.

And this is the case with a certain shall-remain-unnamed chocolate sandwich cookie with mysterious white creamesque filling. These cookies have been perfect ever since I ate my first one at some tender young age I cannot quite fully recall. But I remember the cookies. And now they’ve changed. They’ve been changing and I hadn’t even realized it because I discovered the single positive change this particular cookie has made, the one which has been stuffed twice as full of the mysterious creamesque filling. I was buying some of those the other day and my laser focus was distracted for a moment by an equally addicted child asking if it would be acceptable to open the package in the car. I turned to assure him excitedly that we would most definitely be exploring the benefits of his amazing idea when I spotted the absurd abomination.

The white creamesque mystery ambrosia wonderful what-not pictured on the package adjacent to the one I wanted was a garish orange color and proclaimed to be candy corn flavored.

Why?

We have candy corn for candy corn flavor. Remaining unnamed chocolate sandwich cookies with mysterious white creamesque filling are perfect. We buy those when that is what we want. When we want candy corn flavor, we buy candy corn.

There are other abominations in the cookie world, but I am too disgusted to talk about them. The cookies were perfect. Why mess with them?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy what you enjoy, even if it is an abomination.

A don’t…mess with something perfect. It cannot be made better and alterations take away from the original. It would be like cookie flavored pickles. We have two separate food items to fulfill both of those cravings. Eat the one you want. Exceptions are made for pregnant women or the severely depressed.

Mad Science Father’s Day: A Realization of True Gifts

First of all, happy Father’s Day to any other dad who may read this.

Secondly, please note that the attached photo has nothing to do with the mad science. A portion of the mad science can be viewed at Facebook.com/williamennisauthor. The video is very short, but the result is satisfyingly hypnotic. I am too technologically inept to add videos to my blog. Of course, this admission may cause you to question whether or not I should be conducting mad science, especially with kids around.

My wife and I thought ourselves silly trying to decide on a family activity for today. We’ve gone fishing nearly every weekend so far this summer, so we wanted something other than that. Then we thought about some sort of family craft, but for some reason this idea fell through; although there are many good ideas for that sort of thing out there. Then suddenly last night, my wife epiphaned (or whatever the past tense of epiphany is, I believe it’s: had an epiphany, but where’s the fun in that?). She searched some science demonstrations (the website’s term. They were very careful to point out that it is only an experiment if you alter the parameters based on “What if?” type questions). We did several experiments, and the kids loved every minute, as did I and my wife.

We then went on to have a water balloon fight, the ammunition for which I made most of, and I grilled some burgers for everyone.

I remember thinking at one point how much fun I was having doing most of the grunt work for our activities. I’ve been a grunt before, so I’m used to that part. The payoff was seeing the wonder, pure joy and satisfaction in the faces of my children, but this wasn’t the best part. The charming hand made gifts weren’t even the best part.

The best part of Father’s Day 2018 was when my oldest daughter, soon to turn ten, said “Daddy, I bet I know what your favorite activity was today.” Discussing our favorite activity of any fun-filled day is something we do often. “What was my favorite?” I asked. She smiled and said “Spending time with your family for Father’s Day.”

My daughter was absolutely right. As cheesy as it sounds, all the sweat, mad science related sticky hands and the burned thumb from grilling lunch were totally worth it. I don’t want to relax on Father’s Day. I want to family.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…wear gloves if you plan to do mad science.  Some “demonstrations” will leave a sticky on your hands that is hard to un-sticky.

A don’t…let the hard work and sweat dissuade you from family fun. The hardships are worth happy little faces.

Fishing Philosophy

The picture above is the best picture of my son in existence. It is arguably the best fishing picture in existence. Perhaps you have one you like better. I like this one, not only because it is personally valuable to my reminisces, but because it reflects my own philosophy on fishing.

When I am at a lake, pond, river or puddle casting out a line in hopes of a bite, I sometimes strike up conversations with fellow fishermen. It occasionally happens that someone will notice what I am using as bait or how my lure is attached to my line or my methods of letting the bait sit or reeling it in. On most such occasions, I’m given advice on “The Right Way” to fish. Or “The Right Bait”. Or “The Best Spot”. On one occasion in particular, I met a co-worker/friend/apocalypse-survival-strategy-co-planner at the very lake my son is pictured near above. We were just approaching the lake as he was retreating toward his vehicle and we stopped to chat. A few minutes into our conversation he pointed at my pole and asked what I was doing with “that rig”. I did as I always do when confronted by someone who feels my fishing is sub-par. Which, by the way, is a valid argument because I rarely catch anything. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I’m just messing around.”

That is my fishing philosophy. I don’t want to try the newest bait or most sophisticated lure. I want to sit on the bank near my son (or daughters or wife, preferably all of them at once) and mess around. I cast and reel and sit willy-nilly. We laugh, we talk, we find neat things laying around in the dirt. We watch turtles poke their heads up above the surface and express amazement when a fish jumps out of the water. We get bug-bit and sunburned and sweaty and thirsty. I have become an expert at untying ridiculously intricate and confusing knots produced when my son continues to fling his pole around without pushing the release button on the reel. I’ve become adept at determining when a tree’s hold on a bobber is too strong to fight.

I’ve learned that if I go home without a fish, I am not going home empty-handed as so many serious fishermen claim. I almost always go home with a memory such as the one pictured above, as my son reflects my philosophy. His eyes aren’t on the lake. He is obviously entertaining thoughts that are deeper than any lake, made possible by the serenity of fishing.

If he catches a fish, well, that’s just the crispy, golden breading on the filet. Or perhaps it’s the tartar sauce on the side. Whatever it is, it certainly is not the icing on the crab cake. That would be disgusting and goes against my fishing philosophy.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…fish to catch fish if that’s what you like. Just be sure to make time for all the other stuff too. Fishing goes well with just about anything.

A don’t…forget the worms. I mean the Canadian Night Crawlers. No, wait…you need the stink bait. Or some biscuit dough dunked in chicken blood. Whatever the best bait is these days, just don’t forget it.