Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Place: Taco Bell
Extreme Cheese & Beef Quesadilla, Crispy Taco, Nachos Supreme (no tomato), Pintos & Cheese, Mug Root Beer

This Taco Bell is like thirty years old and is housed in a building that was originally a Sambo's. They "remodeled" a couple of years ago when they brought in seats and tables from another Taco Bell that was either demolished or remodeled. This style and color hasn't been used by Taco Bell in 20 years or more. There's a reason Taco John's dominates this market.

So yesterday I was browsing Google News and noticed a story about CKE (proud owners of Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s) suing Jack in the Box to try and stop a commercial of theirs that CKE alleges implies “Angus beef” comes from the anus of cattle. (Jack in the Box has the funniest commercial campaign on television. I really want to see this ad.)

But it wasn’t so much the article I noticed as it was the picture that accompanied the article. It was a picture of a Hardee’s that I had taken several years ago and included in a review on my own website. The Money Times had lifted it from my website and took it as their own. Without my permission.

So I clicked the link for a closer look. Yep. My photo. At the bottom of the page they had a comment form for the article. So I posted a comment.

“The picture used in this article was taken by me, lifted from my website, and used without my permission. As you might imagine, I'm not terribly fond of you.”

This morning, I checked the website again and discovered they’d resolved the problem…by banning my IP from accessing their website again.

No problem, I have access to other computers. So I found the article again and discovered they also changed the picture to a generic CKE burger photo that they probably lifted off somebody else’s website.

That’s more than the Bloomington Pantagraph did when they lifted a photo I took for an article of theirs. They just ignored me completely. Same goes with several sleazy owners of drive-in theatres who took many of the unique questions and answers from the “Rules of the Drive-In” page I wrote for and adapted them for their own sites.

You know, it’s not like The Money Times and the Pantagraph are websites set up by some punks with no morals and too much time on their hands (like said drive-in owners). One is a major publication owned by a global organization, and one is a primary daily newspaper. The same types who would be screaming and crying and issuing “cease and desist” orders through lawyers if somebody took their story and republished it WITH credit.

But it’s perfectly fine for them to take stuff from some average guy’s site and post it as their own.

And it’s not like I would have said “no”. I’ve given permission for my photos to be used in magazines and websites previously. No problem.

The bizarre thing is that I stumbled upon both instances completely by chance.

If I really went digging, what else would I find?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Hour of Despair

Place: QuikTrip
Lunch: Chili dog, beef taquito, Pepsi

Wow. The things I had to go through to get here.

First, I stopped by the post office to check my PO Box. This has been a depressing thing to do as of late, because I have two packages that are WAY overdue, and nothing's ever in the box.

Much to my surprise, a package notice was in the box today.

So I get in line. It's one of those rare days where three counter people are actually working, and the line is moving at a relatively steady pace.

I give Counter Guy the slip. He heads to the back. I wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Then he appears again and grabs another Counter Guy.

"I can't find this," he says.

Other Counter Guy disappears with him. I hear some mumbling about where to look.

Other Counter Guy mans his counter again.

And I wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Counter Guy reappears. "I can't find anything for you."

"So they just put a slip in my box for no reason?"

Counter Guy disappears again without saying a word.




I spy him on the other side of the building now.




Dozens of people have come and gone in the line since.

FIFTEEN MINUTES after walking in, he appears with my package. Shockingly, it's one I've been waiting for since mid-April.

On the way home to drop off the package and e-mail the guy I bought it from to cancel the insurance claim he's filed on it with his postal service, I stopped by Git n' Go. My purchase totalled exactly $4.00. Redneck Counter Girl takes a $20, and hands me back $15.01 in change.

"No, that's not right. It should be $16.00 in change."


"The total was $4.00, so you should have given me $16.00 in change."

She looks confused for a second, then realizes her error. "Oh DUH! Hang on, the drawer will pop open when I sell this guy's stuff. Unless you want this dollar that kid (before me) left."

Said dollar is mangled and has a big hole in it. I'll wait for This Guy.

This Guy is using a credit card. He slides it through the reader.

Wait for response.




"It says it's invalid," says Redneck Counter Girl.

Guy has a look on his face that is concern, but not exactly surprise.

Redneck Counter Girl runs it through her reader on her keyboard, looks at the card, and says "This isn't yours, is it."

He kind of smiles as he shakes his head.

You know what's coming next, right?

You're wrong. The card is approved and the drawer pops open.

I get my dollar and leave.

I run home, drop off my package, and e-mail the seller. I head back to the office, hitting every red light along the way, including the right turn off the interstate exit that is a "NO TURN ON RED" intersection. It's "NO TURN ON RED" because our lovely Dept of Transportation just rebuilt every bridge over the interstate with built-in blind spots. it's inconceivable that this ridiculous design would be approved in this day and age, but they did it. Then instead of correcting their error, they stuck "NO TURN ON RED" signs up on them, which nobody paid attention to. Then they stuck bigger "NO TURN ON RED" signs up on them and posted cops near the intersections for the purpose of profit. They've probably paid off the bridges by now.

It's an hour and five minutes into my lunch hour, and I'm just now eating.

Should have stayed in bed.