Monthly Archives: June, 2010

When customers give advice

When, what to my fucking ears should I hear,
Eight customer voice mails, all sounding so queer!

There is one thing that customers seemingly love above all else and that is making their opinions known. I theorize that this is because they think it is the one and only time in their lives when someone absolutely has to listen to them. They may be miserably ignored everywhere else they go, but when you are there and paid to be listening to them, and hoping against all hope to make a little profit from them, they expect, nay demand that you listen to their every word.

Dream on, sucka!

And, by the way, may I point out how miserable it must be to have to go to the store to find someone to talk to? Like the people in front of my in the checkout lane at the grocery store? Serious, get a life! Mwuahaha!

True, savvy companies know that some customer input can be an invaluable gift that might be useful on the path to improving the operation. Most of it, however, is simply inane blather and should be dumped in the local sanitary sewer system. 🙂

Speaking of which, the eight voice mails. A customer was so offended that we were closed on Saturday she left no less than eight voice mails on our voice mail system this morning. She did not give her name or a number where she could be reached. Clearly she just wanted to impart her genius and criticize us for being idiots.

I like imaging how angry she must have been. Eight voice mails. Wow. That is no small feat. In fact, I sort of marvel in the absolutely glory and sheer audacity of it.

Eight voice mails! All saying, “you should be open on Saturdays!”

I feel her anger coursing in my veins, filling my body with renewed vigor and a feeling of negativity about the future. Simply delicious! Sublime!


I hate to spoil the fun, but apparently one little thought escaped the gravitational powers of her brain: We had previously considered that. D’oh. In fact, we used to have an employee come in on Saturdays. It turned out that business was slow and did not even justify the paltry wage they pay in this shithole. If it was economically possible anywhere, it would have been here.

Epic fail, lady. Turns out that your anger is wonderful, but your brain comes up woefully short. Fail, fail, and fail.

Customers will often say things like, “You don’t sell the Acme Bootstrap Widget with Slime Mode? I can’t believe that! You’d make a fucking killing!” Uh, yeah. Once again we happen to be way ahead of you. It is a very rare day indeed when we didn’t already think about it. You think it is such a great idea? Go open your own damn store!

Customers have been trained for decades that they are “always right.” What a crock of shit. I’d like to turn this right on its head and offer advice to our customers, who our wise and wondrous leader refers to as “mother fuckers.” I hope they’ll take this little bit o’ advice:

Stay the hell away from me!!!

It rubs the Jello pudding pops on its skin

Last night we watched a little TV. “Last Comic Standing,” to be all up and up about it. They’d show a few minutes of the entertainment, then a few minutes of commercials. I swear to God, it seemed like the mix was exactly 50/50. Probably not, but it sure felt like it! We finally got sick enough to turn the damn thing off and go to bed.

I guess we won’t know who made it through to the finals until later. Hell, maybe we’ll never know. Horrors! How will we ever survive The Not Knowing?!?!?!?!?

After the mind-numbing hell of the commercials, we’d finally be returned to the show. As the entertainment continued, there, at the bottom of our screen, the asshole characters from some future show would dance and cavort around like escaped mental patients, trying to remind us that there are other shows in the universe besides the one we were currently watching. I’d wager that fully one-third of the screen was consumed by this bullshit. Advertisers know that movement draws the attention of the eye. As usual they are subtle as ever. Look for a new troupe of epileptics to start hawking products soon.

That’s the rub, isn’t it? We all already know that. We know there are something like 3,000 television channels now. And we all know by now, we’ve been sufficiently trained, that we’ll never, never, ever watch a show on the telly without having details about the next shows shoved down our motherfucking gullets.

We get that. It’s a sad fact of life if you choose to watch the idiot box. It’s called that for a reason.

We know other things, too. Like that you’ll pump up the volume on commercials until our ears bleed. (See: CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW!!!) Subtlety doesn’t count for jack shit when you have the ability to sacrifice my quality of life in the pursuit of lining your pockets with a few more pieces of silver. Got it, old chap!

So today I’m on the internet and reading Google News. I clicked a link I found compelling and was taken to the Washington Post web site. I don’t know if they are especially notorious about this or not, but that’s the site where it happened.

Before I could get to the promise land of Content I was forced to watch a television commercial. That’s when it hit me.

I was being forced to watch advertising before I was taken to a web page that just happens to be crammed to the gills with … guess what? More fucking advertising! Talk about double-dipping. That’s like paying $5 for a gallon of milk at the register, then paying another $5 at the exit for the privilege of taking it outside of the store.

Some future shock predictions that we can look forward to:

  • The ability to sell ad space on the inside of your eye lids.
  • Advertising on the walls of your home.
  • Logos visible from the surface of the moon.
  • Whoring out the name of your city.
  • Printing commercials on the surface of the food you eat.
  • Subliminal advertising beamed 24/7 as radiation across the whole planet.
  • Product tattoos on your forehead.

Don’t worry. It’s no big deal what you have to endure as long as some asshole is getting rich.

Meanwhile I finally went to a web site known as and attempted to opt-out from their bullshit. Mind you that I’ve never visited this web site before or signed up for anything. I clicked the “Unsubscribe” link in their email and found, amazingly, that I was already subscribed to all of this bullshit:

  • New Member Alerts: Notify me whenever new members join My Groups.
  • Birthday Alerts: Remind me whenever a contact has a birthday.
  • Special Offers: Notify me of special offers for MyLife services.
  • Tips & Tricks: Send me tips & tricks on new and existing features.
  • Partner Offers: Send me offers from selected marketing partners.

Each and every one of these “notifications” was turned on by default, for a site that I’d never even visited before!

Someone kindly direct me to the “opt-out forever for everything” checkbox. MyLife? What a friggin’ joke.

My next big idea

You try to find a copyright-free Star Wars image!

I may have already revealed that my first kiss was at church camp with a girl named Tex, but here is something I don’t think you know about me yet:

In 8th grade I wore Star Wars t-shirts every day for an entire year. Yup. Every day. Entire year. I had quite the wardrobe back then and I hope it isn’t too self-centered to say, it has only improved since then.

With my penchant for coming up with stupid t-shirts (you can find some on this blog) it suddenly hit me:

What if there was a way to combine two of my greatest loves – Star Wars and inappropriate t-shirts.

If you’ve seen what the “cool” kids are wearing on their shirts lately,  you already know that freedom of speech has more than stomped the bound of good taste once and for all. The excellent sociology web site,, has documented many examples of this phenomenon.

My goal was a little scaled back from some of the trendsetters found there. Simply stated it is this: Take unaltered verbatim quotes (changing punctuation is okay) from Star Wars and reprint them on shirts and let people’s dirty minds do the rest.

I give you some of my ideas for a new line of inappropriate and/or negative Star Wars t-shirts:

  • Look at the size of that thing!
  • I don’t like you either.
  • We seem to be made to suffer.
  • Don’t everyone thank me at once.
  • Obeys your commands.
  • Let go your conscious self and act on instinct.
  • Let’s blow this thing and go home.
  • I don’t care what you smell.
  • What an incredible smell you have discovered.
  • Get on top of it!
  • Here, hold this.
  • Your powers are weak.
  • Don’t get cocky.
  • You’re my only hope.
  • The approach will not be easy.
  • Skim the surface to this point.
  • The shaft leads directly to the reactor.
  • I’m going in!
  • Let me know when you’re going in.
  • I have you now.
  • I’m going to regret this.
  • I’m ready for anything.
  • Maybe you’d like it back in your cell.
  • Sorry about the mess!
  • He’s the brains, sweetheart!
  • I can imagine quite a bit.
  • I take orders from just one person: me.
  • Give us a few minutes to lock it down.
  • I know a few maneuvers.
  • Here’s where the fun begins.

I guess this the part where you call me a geek and point and laugh.

Hyppo and Critter: The Great Oil Spill

Be strong with the FORCE

The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.
–Obi-Wan Kenobi

Help me, blog reader; you’re my only hope!

This post is a call to action. Time is short and the stakes are high, so I hope you’ll pay some attention. Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask for anything too important like your firstborn child or the scrilla in your wallet. All I want is a few moments of your time and a couple of clicks from your mouse.

I recently learned about something known as the BRCA1 human gene mutation. The name of the gene, BRCA1, actually means “Breast Cancer 1, early onset.” According to Wikipedia, some mutations of this gene “are associated with a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer, as well as other cancers.” I originally learned about this from fellow WordPress blogger Teri Smieja.

I have since learned that women diagnosed with this gene mutation can have increased risk for breast cancer of 87% or higher. Can you even imagine being on the receiving end of news like that??? Following this sort of a diagnosis a procedure known as prophylactic mastectomy is often prescribed. “Prophylactic” means “preventative” and “mastectomy” is the “medical term for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely.” In other words, healthy breasts are often removed simply because the risk of cancer is so incredibly high. This really floored me.

Through Teri I learned about BRCA1 and the web site This is the official web site for FORCE which stands for Facing Our Risk of Cancer EMPOWERED. Their beautiful mission statement is: “To improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.”

What does FORCE actually do to support this mission?

To this end, FORCE has eight mission objectives:

  • To provide women with resources to determine whether they are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer due to genetic predisposition, family history, or other factors.
  • To provide information about options for managing and living with these risk factors.
  • To provide support for women as they pursue these options.
  • To provide support for families facing these risks.
  • To raise awareness of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
  • To represent the concerns and interests of our high-risk constituency to the cancer advocacy community, the scientific and medical community, the legislative community, and the general public.
  • To promote research specific to hereditary cancer.
  • To reduce disparities among underserved populations by promoting access to information, resources and clinical trials specific to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

The clock is ticking. As I write this there are only 15 days and counting left to record your vote and make a difference. Your vote could mean more resources for this worthy cause.

Voting is easy, but I’m not too familiar with Facebook. The first time I visited the site I thought I had voted but I actually didn’t. Here’s some easy instructions to make sure your vote counts!

Vote Now!

On Facebook already? It’s easy to vote. Simply click on the button above or visit Chase Community Giving and follow these steps:

  1. Join the movement by scrolling down and clicking the ‘Like’ button.
  2. Click the big green ‘Search’ button and copy this text: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered and paste it in the box that says ‘Charity Name.’ Click search.
  3. When you see “Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered” in blue lettering. Click it.
  4. Scroll down and check the box that says: “Please display my name and profile picture below so this charity knows it can contact me to get more involved.”
  5. Click ‘submit.’ A ‘Request for Permission’ box will pop up. Click ‘Allow.’

Thanks in advance for the supreme effort of a few mouse clicks on your part.


The FORCE will be with you, always…

I’ll knock your Blokus off

Every once in a while you come across a truly unique game that captures your imagination. For my wife and myself, Blokus is such a game.

Back in February I blogged about my harrowing re-introduction to the board game Risk. That post told the tale of taking our Blokus game to the local library for game night and how I ended up playing Risk instead.

I first discovered the game one night late last year when my wife and I had gone shopping at the local Barnes and Nobel. While lamenting how shopping at the bookstore had changed, I happened upon the game of Blokus and it immediately caught my eye.

The game is devilish in its simplicity. The basic version consists of a square game board and four sets of brightly colored plastic pieces that fit on the board. The pieces are shaped like Tetris pieces varying in size from one block to various shapes consisting of five blocks. All players have their own sets of identical pieces and no two pieces within each set are the same. It only takes about one minute to learn the rules.

The game is turn-based and consists of each player adding pieces to the board until someone has placed all of their pieces or everyone is blocked. The player who covers the most squares on the board wins. The game game is hard and I’ve yet to ever successfully place all of my pieces. No one has at our home game.

There is also a two-player version called Blokus Duo (with two colors) that we also picked up. It has a smaller game board. Versions we have yet to try include Blokus 3D and Blokus Trigon that comes with triangular pieces. I’m sure that version will melt my brain.

You can play the game for free online at If you like it be sure to pick up the real thing.

Yahoo! Movies: Spoiler – you suck

Post spoiler warning: Yahoo! sucks. Oops, wait. I think I just did that wrong. I just gave away the meat of this whole endeavor. Oh well.

You know I hate playing the role of spoiler. Truly I do. But this cat needs to be let out of the bag.

Last night, Yahoo! Movies “Showtimes and Tickets” feature made my wife cry.

Congratulations, Yahoo! You just made my world famous “eat my ass” list. Kudos.

My wife and I have been having sort of a rough go of it lately. Ongoing problems with the gerbil, stressful job situations (for both of us), bills, time constraints, family and so forth. Last weekend was a go-go-go whirlwind and we still haven’t really recovered.

So my wife thought it would be nice to take a night just for us. We’d get off work, have dinner, then go see a movie. She looked up our local movie theater (about one mile from our house) in the Yahoo! web site and found Robin Hood at 8pm. She was really looking forward to it.

We got home from work and were getting ready for dinner. Long story short and several Greek tragedies later (perhaps to be told another time) we finally embarked on the one mile journey to the movie house.

You can guess where this is going, right? Well, first a piece of good news. We got the best parking spot ever at the theater. That celebration turned out to be short-lived.

As we got out of the car I looked up at the big scoreboard of movie times and said, “Interesting. Nothing starts at 8:00 pm.”

We walked up to the ticket window. No one was there. Only a note that said, “Come inside to buy tickets.” This most decidedly did not portend well.

Inside at the counter a helpful worker bee approached. “We’re a little confused,” we said. “Do you have Robin Hood starting at 8:00 pm? We didn’t see it on the sign.”

The busy little bee checked his magical computer and said, “Why, yes, we do.”

What the hell? Really? Wow, I guess sometimes the shit really can work out! I turned to my wife and said, “See honey? It’s all okay. I told you it would all work out.”

Then the bee added, “Uh. Wait a minute. I was wrong.”


He went on to tell us that Yahoo! was often wrong with their movie times and the only way to be sure was to call or use their own web site.

This was the capper to one helluva week and one helluva day, and it completely dashed my wife’s hopes and squashed something she had really been looking forward to.

I tried coming up with a bunch of other ideas. Go to a different theater. Go out for a drink. Go get a treat. Throw rocks at the big board of movie times. With tears in her eyes she said, “Let’s just go home.”

Back at home we went to Yahoo! to confirm the scurrilous mayhem that had ensued. Again we were denied. All we got to see was this bullshit:

Sorry, we have no showtime information for this theater at this time. Call the theater for information: (555) 555-1212.

Indeed! Good day, Yahoo! I said good day! Thanks so much for ruining a night we really needed. Ya filthy bastards!