Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dear Best Buy...

I was in the Best Buy store on Pleasant Hill earlier today (01/24/10) and was fully prepared to buy a new laptop with a price tag of $799.
The salesperson helping me was very pleasant, and tried very hard. Of course, as seems to be typical of Best Buy, the store didn't have the laptop in stock. I was told the Snellville, GA store had one and I could pay for it there, then it would be brought to the Pleasant Hill store. When I asked the young man how long that would take, he consulted with another salesperson, whose response was "We ain't do that. He got to pay for it here and go get it."
Now, I realize that my measly $799 (plus tax) purchase was by no means going to be the largest purchase at the Pleasant Hill store on that day, but I think it's highly suspect that one of your employees could say with a straight face that I could pay in one store, and then drive 15 miles to another store to pick up my merchandise.
In fact, if a customer is purchasing an item costing more than, say, $150- it would seem to me the employees would be eager to "go the extra mile" and courier the item in question to a store where it's actually convenient to the customer- if not to the customer's home. And particularly in what's still a down economy.
One thing the incident confirmed is my belief that (aside from a scattered few salespersons like the first one I spoke to) your company's purported "customer service" is some of the absolute worst in all of retail.
In closing, I look forward to purchasing my new laptop somewhere else, and wish you continued success in your efforts to alienate your customer base.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

You know what? They're free to go screw themselves, too.

Just think- once upon a time, the Republican party was the party that was willing to go to war to free a people. And I'm not talking about Iraqis, Afghans or Kuwaitis. Or have you forgotten that one of our greatest leaders was a Republican? I refer you to Abraham Lincoln (he of the Emancipation Proclamation that said all slaves in the United States were to be freed. You know, just in case you grew up in a cave or have suffered from total memory loss or something).
No matter Lincoln's ultimate reasoning behind the move to abolish slavery (and it has been debated, but you can research that on your own)- it was a brave, and ultimately deadly, move.
It's also a the type of stand I can't imagine we'll ever see again.
Instead, the face of the modern Republican Party is represent by people like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly or Pat Robertson- all of whom have made the news over the past week thanks to the complete and utter stupidity of their statements regarding Haiti.
I mean, does anyone really give one tin shit about what these fucklings has to say about anything? I mean, besides their followers, who will repeat as gospel any drops of dipshit that fall from their continually flapping faceholes, no matter how venomous or hate-filled it is.
Besides, the is the good, old U.S. of A. and we're all entitled to our opinions, no matter how detestable the majority may find them.
It's the First Amendment- and, while it might suck some ginormous ass to hear the things these mental midgets foist on us- it's also why I can post my opinions on the matter and you are free to agree or disagree with them. (No matter how right I might be.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Conan to NBC: If you see Kay...

After what I personally thought was a protracted period of silence, Conan O'Brien issued this statement:
People of Earth:
In the last few days, I've been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I've been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I've been absurdly lucky. That said, I've been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.
Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.
But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.
Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn't the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.
So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn't matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.
There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.
Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it's always been that way.

Isn't it just awesome, telling someone to get bent so eloquently? I don't know about that whole "greatest franchise" bit, though. Hasn't "60 Minutes" been around for 700 years, or does Andy Rooney's presence just make it seem like they have?
I think NBC has screw themselves with this move. Or, was Leno that much of a ratings monster? I never understood his appeal myself. O'Brien was always more my speed, humor-wise, but I was rarely awake for his show. Even now- when it comes on at 11:30.
And besides, the best host in late night is Craig Ferguson. He fucking rocks. Of course, I'm old- and usually never awake that late.
Hey- wait! We have a DVR! Hells yeah!

Expounded print edition for 01/15/10

I was just surfing the web (which, to me, counts as “research” for BeanSpouts) and on Yahoo's home page is the headline: “Breaking News: Mark McGwire admits to using steroids.”
Seriously- that's the best they can do for news? I mean, is that even news? I guess maybe it's news that he finally admitted he used- but that's about it.
Then again, if you were surprised he used, then you've obviously had your head under a rock-0 or maybe living on freaking Mars. I suppose you'll be surprised when Barroid admits it, too. Oh- wait. That's right- he'll never admit it- and his head will remain firmly ensconced up his ass...

I see where NBC says their affiliates are “pleased” that the network decided to move “The Jay Leno Show” from its 10 time slot to “The Tonight Show's” 11:35 start time- moving Conan O'Brien to a 12:05 start.
I haven't seen the show, so I couldn't really comment on the actual amount of suck it produced- only speculate. I have to imagine, though, that O'Brien can't be particularly pleased with the move- although I haven't heard of any grumbling from his camp.
And really, isn't anything that makes it harder for us to unwittingly stumble across Jimmy Fallon on “The Late Show” worth it? That'd be a big, old YES...

So, they played the supposed national championship game and the Tide rolled. I still say we need a playoff- 'cause there's still another undefeated team left...

Speaking of college games- what can I say about Tech besides “Shit!Hell!Damn!Crap!Ass!”? Well, not much. Stupid bugs...

I caught a story about a Tennessee man who claims to have broken the Guinness World Record for playing "Grand Theft Auto IV" while he was raising money for the swimming team he coaches.
The 19 year old played the game for some 55 hours- well past the “record” of 40 hours, 20 minutes set by a man from India (who we can probably safely assume lives in his parents' basement, or whatever the Indian equivalent of that is).
The arcade where he had his “marathon” donated a portion of its profits during the record attempt.
C'mon- this is a real record? And he's proud of it? I mean, I know there's something stupid shit in Guinness' book, but this, well- guess I'm just getting old...

Oh yeah- one other BCS tidbit: the SEC is 14-5 in BCS games (far and away the best record), undefeated in "championship" games (6-0) and has won four straight championships.
So, why aren't the other leagues scrambling to come up with some kind of playoff system to try to level the field?

In fact, I know I'm getting old. It's Monday as I write this, and the high today hit 41. I think. That's the warmest it's been since New Year's Eve. And I ache.
We had some very light snow last Thursday night, but nothing particularly impressive. It was still on the ground in places this afternoon when I came home, though- that's how freaking cold it is here!
Friday morning at work, there were all of four of us there (out of 15), and I asked one of the guys to open up the paint shop for me so I could grab some materials that I needed (not knowing who'd actually show that day- since it was something like 8:30 and we were the only ones there- and work's supposed to start at 7:30. Evidently, everyone else was iced in, or some other such horse shit- one bad thing about living less than two miles from work, I guess).
Anyway, we were pushing this big rack of painted plastic across the parking lot and got to the little hill going up into the shop where I do most of my work. Doug said “on three: one, two, three” and I planted my foot to push. Can you guess what happened?
Yep. Bam! Down on both knees. It felt kind of like when you hit your funny bone- if your funny bony was in your knee and you hit it really fucking hard. And in both knees. At the same time.
Then, my supervisor (when he finally showed up an hour later) has a conniption fit when I tell him about, saying “well, why were you walking across the parking lot? Didn't you know there was ice?”
Well, the answer was “no."
“It was under the snow that I'd already walked across with no problem,” I said. “Besides, I didn't know if anyone else was going to bother showing up for work, and I wanted to make sure (the plastic) didn't sit there another day without me being able to work on it.”
Seriously, I was getting grief from a guy who goes out to the perpetual mud puddle in the parking lot when it's cold so he can test whether or not the ice in it is strong enough to hold him up...

Back before the football season started, I made some predictions regarding who'd make the playoffs. I was right on exactly three of those picks- all in the AFC: the Colts, Chargers and wild-card Ravens. I mean, I can take being wrong, but I can't believe every single one of my NFC picks were wrong!
Shelby had much better luck- she made two picks (the Eagles and Jets), and one of them is still playing...

Still, going three out of nine steadily makes you millions in the major leagues...

I can't believe that the Green Bay-Arizona game was the most exciting one this weekend. Even more so, I can't believe the Cardinals' luck (and that's all it is- the fuckers). Of course, I also thought the Packers had a defense. Evidently, I was wrong...

Okay, time for another round of annoying commercials: There's a “new” Geico commercial, retreading the “so easy a caveman can do it” shtick. That was old five years ago, or whenever it was the first time they ran. Instead, the “new” commercial is just as retarded as the other ones are (some of the Geico gecko commercials are okay, though).
Then, there's the DirecTV ads with James Lipton. Seriously, I can't be the only person who sees these and wants to crawl inside the TV and punch him in the head, can I? I mean, I appreciate the fact that he can make fun of himself, but. He's. Just. So. Fucking. Annoying. He's like in Alex Trebek territory on the pompous jerk-o-meter. It's sad, because a lot of the other DirecTV celebrity spots were pretty funny (the with Little Richard never failed to make me laugh).
And then there's the “Pepto” lady commercials- or whatever that one is where the women in the airport wanna “share” their colon health reports. Ew. Shut up, ya bitch.
I do like the Allstate commercials, though. I'd buy insurance from President Palmer or Pedro Cerrano. If I didn't have pretty good insurance already...

Shelby's determined she's going to take the day off to make sure she catches all the coverage should her Jets make the Super Bowl. I got no better pick for the AFC, so why not?
In the NFC- I just don't know. I mean, the Cardinals keep getting so lucky, it's hard to pick against them. Kurt Warner, however, makes it easy. He's another one of those people that I just want to punch in the mouth on principle.
How about a I just realized that there's not one team in the NFC I want to pick. I don't like any of them...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

So, when I got back to work on the 4th- after being gone since December 18th- I just had this feeling that something would be waiting to aggravate me.
So, what did I discover? Well, in the graphics room, the thermostat had evidently been set at 78 on one of the days that I was gone. To say it was toasty in there is a fucking understatement. (You know how much it sucks to sweat when it's in the goddamned 20s outside?)
Of course, I quickly forgot about the heat, because there was this smell.
In one trash can was what was left of some sort of pasta dish from the company's pot-luck lunch on Christmas Eve. And the spilled food- and soaked in grease (presumably from the same day) on one of my work benches. Out-fucking-standing. Cocksmokes.
I've decided that I shall begin compiling a list of things I've learned at work. Not necessarily at just this job- but at jobs I've had since I started working 26 years ago.
Maybe the list will be funny. Maybe informative. More than likely, it'll just be sad...

A new year, a new post...

I hope you all had good holidays, and weren't suffering too much when you finally roused yourselves on New Year's Day. Since I'm going to try (once again) to post on a more regular basis, what say we get to it?

I get up this morning and checked out Weatherscan (one of our too many channels that aids in keeping me glued to the couch)- which is pretty much the Weather Channel's “Local on the 8's” segment, repeated over and over and over. I wanted to see if snow was still in the forecast for Thursday and Friday.
I caught the channel just in time for today's forecast: “Abundant sunshine. Cold. High of 33.”
Are you shitting me? Cold? I never would've guessed if they hadn't told me that I'm so glad I didn't just toss on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt and head outside to work in the yard- like I'd planned to do. Those insightful geniuses probably saved me from frostbite and extreme hypothermia!
I should send them a thank you note, or gift, or something.
All kidding aside, though- the forecast highs for Norcross don't leave the 30s until Monday (when we're forecast to hit the low 40s). I went to work yesterday (and will for the rest of the week, too) wearing two long-sleeved shirts, a pair of sweatpants under my blue jeans, and two pairs of socks. And I work inside. Of course, I also work a good portion of the day in the coldest room in the building- which has zero insulation.
By the way, the forecast is still calling for snow Thursday afternoon into Friday (when our morning low is supposed to be all of 11). And again next Tuesday and Wednesday. Which makes me even happier that I live less than two miles from work. I can't imagine how hellish the commute will be the last two days of this week if there's snow or ice on the roads- considering what a circus it is in good weather.
And I love it when people say “I'm from (insert whatever cold weather state you want)- we drive in snow 46' deep!”
That's great. You know what? There are more than five and a half million people in Atlanta- most of them not from cold weather states. They might have four wheel drive vehicles. They might know the theory. But, most of them have no freaking clue how to drive in snowy and/or icy conditions! Those are the people I'm worried about being next to on the road (well, actually, about Shelby being next to on the road- she takes the Interstate to work)...

Okay, maybe Cincinnati was proved to be a pretender by Florida. Or, maybe the Gators were really pissed about losing to Alabama and took it out on the Bearcats. Either way, there are now (as of Tuesday morning) three teams with just one loss and six teams with just two losses.
Oh yeah- and there are still three undefeated teams. Come Friday morning, we'll have the supposed national champion, but there will still be a Boise State team standing- with no blemish on their record.
Some national championship. I still think they should do a "Bad News Bears" style sandlot game for bragging rights...

The Falcons managed to get a huge monkey off their back Sunday, beating Tampa Bay to wrap the season at 9-7 and securing their second consecutive winning season- something that really didn't seem possible three weeks ago, when they lost a close one to New Orleans.
Still- I see the season overall as a loss. This team (on paper) was talented enough to make the playoffs (and yes, I was on the bandwagon believing a Super Bowl run was likely) but lacked- I don't know- the heart?
The last couple of games seemed to provide some answers in the secondary, but the team still needs a pass rush on the defensive side of the ball, and a healthy Michael Turner in the backfield- not to mention some steel-toed cleats for Matt Ryan (or something to protect him from turf toe)...

I think I watched at least 20 hours of the 46 hours of the SyFy channel's "Twilight Zone" marathon on New Year's Eve/Day and weekend. What a great show- and sad commentary on the "fare" offered on the other 200 channels that a 50 year old anthology series is better than most of the shite they foist on us...

At my day job, we were shut down the week after Christmas in a money-saving move. No big deal, really (except not getting paid, except for the holiday) sucked.
What sucked more, though, was that I'd already taken the week of Christmas off so I could come to Savannah to see family and friends for the holiday- meaning I'd be off work for two weeks.
Now, I know you're probably thinking "Rob, you're an idiot- being off work for two weeks doesn't suck, it rules." Well, you're almost right, but here's the thing.
I have a bad habit of just sitting on my ever-expanding rear and doing nothing, when the opportunity arises. And two weeks away from work raises plenty of said opportunity (like watching 20 hours worth of "Twilight Zone", along with "The Blues Brothers" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" during Encore's 80s movie marathon New Year's week, and I don't know how many bowl games I surfed through).
I pretty much accomplished nothing (although I did, at least, take down the Christmas tree and decorations from the inside of the house. The lights on the house outside will have to wait- didn't you catch the first paragraph? The Weather Channel says it's cold. Shelby says I can leave them up all year, for all she cares, but I just can't bring myself to be quite that lazy. Besides, getting the ladder out to take down the lights also means that- while I'm right there- I can clean the gutters, too- something I'm not as diligent about as I should be...

So, one of the bowl games I caught part of was the Outback between Northwestern and Auburn. It wasn't a bad game, really- but I had to wonder what the refs were thinking, calling a roughing the kicker penalty on Auburn late in the game.
I mean, I know the kicker is vulnerable with his leg out in the air like that, but the guy who got flagged had slid about three yards on the ground before he hit the punter's planting foot. Give me a break...

You know, I'm sure some people will take offense, but I know I'm not the only person who thinks it's pretty typical of the type of guy that plays in the NBA that Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittendon pulled guns on each other in the locker room. Loaded or not.
And Arenas' explanation that it was just a joke gone awry? Well, it doesn't speak highly of his intelligence- but volumes on his lack thereof. And even more so on the fans that actually buy that pant-load of- well, you know...

I did have karaoke gigs the two Saturday nights of those weeks. Boxing Day, there were all of- let's see- maybe six people in the place. By around 11:30 or so- the bartender, waitress and I were sitting down in front of the fireplace just shooting the breeze because we were the only ones in the building besides the cook, who- I'm sure- was cleaning the kitchen and hoping no one else came in before 1:00.
There were a few people there when I got there. They were joined, after a bit, by this weird, Ted Kaczynski looking guy who I'd seen in the place a couple of times.
Ted was obviously already soused (or high) when he came in and Jason- the bartender- refused to serve him. This caused Ted no end of irritation. After Ted buzzed around the bar, annoying the few paying customers who decided to come out- Jason was forced to call the police.
Now, the police station here in Norcross is in City Hall- which is across the parking lot from the bar (kind of like if the bar was the US Custom's House on Bay Street and City Hall still housed the police department in Savannah). Ted decided- as Jason was on the phone with the police, that he'd walk over to the police department and somehow prove to them he wasn't drunk- and therefore get Jason to serve him. (Anyone seeing the flaw in this plan?)
So, two minutes later, as the two Norcross officers are talking to Jason about Ted (and Bobbi- the waitress- and I are sitting by the fire, listening), the officers' radios broadcast a call from dispatch for them to come back to the station, as an apparently inebriated, possibly homeless (I forgot the part where Ted looks like a homeless guy) man is pounding on the doors of the police station, demanding a breathalyzer test. Awesome...

It was cool that it was a close game and all, but- seriously- FSU playing on New Year's Day? Remember when a New Year's Day bowl game was a reward for an outstanding season?
There's just no way a six loss team should be playing on the first. No way. I don't care if it was Bobby Bowden's last game...

And while we're at it- I'm pretty sure I mentioned it last year, but Fox only covers college football during bowls- except on their regional sports channels. The regional coverage isn't bad. But it's nothing special, either.
"Big" Fox, though? Well, it's just terrible. Much like they've done to the Super Bowl, World Series, and every other supposedly big sporting event they cover, they've managed to turn their bowl coverage into one ginormous pageant of fuckery, rife with overlong pre-game "festivities" and in-game assholishness spewing from the announcers' faceholes.
And, speaking of announcers, they dug up Pat Summerall from whatever crypt they were keeping him in to call the Cotton Bowl (remember when that was a semi-important bowl game?). He's not a blast from the past- but he's definitely a moldy oldie...

Okay, another commercial that just irritates the bejeebers out of me is the catheter commercial. You know the one I mean? Some woman with one of those annoying, Suutherrrrn ax-scennnnces, telling us how emmmmbarrassed she wussss, having to reuse caaaaatheterssss?
Seriously, she's embarrassed about having to reuse catheters, or call a company to order new ones, but she's okay going before the cameras to tell us about recurring urinary tract infections? Am I missing something? How is that less embarassing?
One commercial that just makes me laugh, though, is the Ally Bank commercial with the two little girls and the stuffy, banker type.
Banker type asks the one girl if she'd like a pony. She does. He gives her a plastic one.
He asks the other little girl. She does, too. He clicks his tongue, calling a pony out from behind a wall.
The look on the first little girl's face when she says "you didn't say I could have a real one" and he answers "well, you didn't ask" just kills me. She looks like she's ready to rip off her head with her bare hands and use it as a soccer ball..

After the Falcons' game ended Sunday, Fox veiwers here in Atlanta were "treated" to "Bonus Coverage" of the Bears-Lions game. To me, that isn't a bonus- it's more like punishment...

If you're in the Norcross area, come out for Karaoke on Saturday the 16th. Look here for more details.

That's it for now. More soon. This time, I mean it, damnit!