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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • On technology, fun. and the 'Ultra' life

  • My personal 'Ultra' life isn't so ultra.
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  •     “Braveheart” is currently showing on the TV screen in our living room, and William Wallace’s beautiful new bride, which he wed in secret so she wouldn’t be forced to have sex with one of the king’s guards on their wedding night, is about to be attacked by one of those guards, a slimy, old guy with bad teeth. A couple scenes from now, she’s going to have her throat slit by one of the king’s constables because she dared fight back against her attacker by, specifically, biting a chunk of his face off. Even though Wallace gets his vengeance soon after, it always makes me sad when his innocent bride is so needlessly, mercilessly and barbarically killed, so I’ve decided to distract my attention by embarking on a quick trip to the Land of Random-nimity, a place I haven’t visited for a while.
        • If we’re going to have so much technology available to us every moment of our lives, is it too much to ask that it be consistently available?
        Recently, we’ve decided to pay off a couple of debts…our truck, for one, and a home improvement loan we took out to remodel the kitchen a while back. So I visited the two necessary websites and clicked numerous links in order to get where I needed to go. I found the pay-off balances, to the penny as of that particular moment, and wondered what to click next in order to complete the online transaction. To my dismay, however, both websites told me I needed to call on the phone if I wanted to pay off our account.
        So I tracked down our most recent invoices, found the phone numbers to call, and called them. I told the first lady I wanted to pay off the Avalanche, she told me what she owed – which matched the number I’d seen on the web – and I had my check card number ready so we could take care of business in rapid fashion.
        But, no, I had to write them a check and mail it in, she said. But it’s not a debit card with a set, pre-determined balance or a credit card, I told her, it’s a card in which money is immediately deducted from our checking account when we use it. No go, she told me. So I offered to give her a routing number from a good, old-fashioned check, but no go on that, either, she said.
        A very similar scenario played out when I called to pay off the home improvement loan.
    Page 2 of 3 -     Not only that, there was a special address I had to mail the checks to, and both had to be addressed to the “Payoff Department.” So it’s like a flashing sign that tells the world there’s a large check in the envelope, I told the women during both calls. Everything would be fine, they both said.
        And it was, in both cases. But, seriously, I have to mail you a check....in the mail?
        • Nate Ruess. Sounds like an innocent enough name, does it not? You probably don’t even know who he is, and if you don’t, you’re living a charmed life. He’s the cartoon-voiced, pixie-looking lead singer of the pop band, fun. That’s right, it’s with a lower-case “f.” And not only that, the period after “fun” in the previous sentence isn’t there just to indicate the end of the sentence, it’s because Ruess and his clever bandmates actually call their band fun. With a period. See that? I typed their band name properly and it made the words that followed appear to form a nasty sentence fragment, or a dangling participle or something, starting with a preposition. It just KILLS me, I tell you. But when you type fun. That’s what happens if you have some level of automatic grammar and punctuation correction on your computer.
        But it’s the fact that Ruess – Did I mention his freakish cartoon voice? – is so over-exposed of late that’s really killing me. Songs by fun. Are always on the radio (another sentence fragment, I know) and their videos are always on TV. And many of their songs are so generic in nature that they make for great background music in TV and radio commercials. fun., and, especially Ruess, are the background noise just about everywhere I go. How fun. Was nominated for so many Grammy awards is beyond me. But the Grammys is pretty much just a live concert these days, anyway, that happens to dish out a couple of awards.
        • I’m living the “Ultra life” these days. I kept seeing the TV commercials with that amazing looking guy who drinks the low-carb, low-calorie Anheiser-Busch brew, and I had to be like him. He hikes in a canyon with a hot babe, has Michelob Ultra with a buddy and more hot babes on a patio in front of gorgeous mountains, then is a breathtakingly talented beach volleyball player competing against a bunch of hot babes, has some more Michelob Ultra and snacks on a rooftop bar with some buddies and hot babes, and then grooves at a concert featuring the hippest band in the land, with a hot babe.
    Page 3 of 3 -     So I bought some Michelob Ultra, and the other day I enjoyed one of the skinny cans while I scooped cat feces and urine clumps from our litter boxes tucked in a far corner of the basement.
        OK, so maybe it didn’t quite live up to Joe Super Cool Dude in the commercial. But, with Michelob Ultra, at least I’m getting fatter…slower.
        

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