Friday, July 30, 2004

Time Flies

OK, I don't know how I lost fifteen days. It's not like I wasn't thinking "gee, I should write a blog post." I just didn't feel like I had a lot to contribute. Most of the things that have caught my eye have been covered by other bloggers (see list to the right). And I never really wanted to just write a "this is what I did today" kind of blog.

On the other hand, I'm 7/8ths of the way through a work week from hell. Or at least heck. 52 hours and counting -- Saturday and Sunday still to come.

The only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that I'm supposed to be in Honolulu at 3:05 HST on Thursday. And I get to see Ken that weekend.

I will try to be a better blogger in the future.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Signs of Intelligence, number 1

aka, Beam Me Up Scotty
I kinda hope there's no reason to make this a "continuing series," but I'm cynical enough to figure that's not true. So I'm sitting at the bar at The Cannon, enjoying the hell out of the IPA as usual when the guy (blond hair, black eyebrows) next to me orders a stout. Dana brings it to him and before even tasting it, he tells his buddies "It looks like a Guinness." Well, yeah you waste of oxygen, it's a fucking STOUT.

current music
Underworld - Two Months Off

Less Filling, More Taste

Lorgo Abnam'l Ud Zemblag
OK, so I know I've pretty much been harping on that one thing (Graebel sucks) for a while. I also know there are other things happening in the world (Graebel sucks). How about that defeat of the FMA yesterday? Good stuff.

I'm still waiting for somebody on the right to explain to me how a union of two people in love (who happen to be of the same gender), "threatens" their own marriage. Really, what is the big deal? How exactly does this cause a problem?

Did I mention that when the third party subcontractor came to uncrate the marble top to my antique dresser, it was broken into a bunch of pieces? Yeah, umm, Graebel SUCKS. In case that wasn't obvious.

current music
New Order - Regret

My Joy Was Premature

How in the name of dog do you lose one cushion from a couch? Especially when said couch has been wrapped in plastic wrap, like a giant plastic mummy?

They found a way. They also busted up an end table that was hand made by an ex and me. Perhaps not a high monetary value, but then again, how do you place a value on sentiment.

Watching and listening to them re-assemble my platform bed was highly amusing though.

I guess that "lie on the couch all weekend and watch movies" thing is gonna have to wait.


So far, a couch, a mattress, a footboard and a dresser mirror. But it's a start.

And it's certainly about time.

I still hate Graebel Movers, though.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


I had to work yesterday. Use my brain and everything. It's been so long I had almost forgotten what it was like. Also notable was the fact that the people I was working with actually listened to my input and seemed to value what I said. Now that hadn't happened in a really long time.

The downside to this is that we've been given a nearly impossible deadline to meet -- yes, here we are in the 21st century, and businesses still think they schedule hard implementation dates for IT projects without even supplying functional requirements first -- so it looks like there will be lots of long days and weekend work in the near future.

Graebel Is A Lousy Moving Company
I've been given another date when my furniture will supposedly arrive. This after another day of promised phone calls that did not come. When they did call yesterday, I wasn't at my desk so I only got a voicemail (despite the fact that they have my cell number). Quite perfunctory, no apology, barely even an acknowledgment that they've done such a lousy job so far.

Perhaps tomorrow I won't have to write an entry about how badly Graebel sucks. We'll see.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Don't Use Graebel Movers

Still no furniture. Still no scheduled delivery. Once again, I had to initiate the call.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Say My Name Three Times

Evidently, I'm a demon customer.

Like a customer who ties up a sales person, but never buys anything or who buys only during big sales. Or one who files for a rebate, then returns the item.

OK, I think the person who pulls rebate scams is a thief, no doubt. However, how stupid is the person at the returns counter who accepts a box which has had the UPC code cut off of it? Believe me, when I worked at Best Buy (see below) I saw that more than once. What about the scam that the rebate companies pull when they try to tell you that there is something wrong with your submission and the rebate has been denied. I've had that happen, and since I keep copies of all the paperwork, been able to prove them wrong. At which point I was told that "since you are a valued customer, we've gone ahead and honored the rebate." Bullshit. And yes, I'm talking about YOU, Sony. Why can't manufacturers and retailers just offer a good price on an item to begin with? Yes, yes, I know that only a small percentage of people actually file for rebates. Too bad manufacturers and retailers, if you're gonna game us, then you're gonna get gamed.

Now about the customer who ties up a sales person? That sounds kind of kinky, and I can name a few of the guys at Best Buy that I'd like to try that with. But seriously, the counter argument here is the sales person who won't take "no" for an answer. The other day at an unnamed jewelry store in an Atlanta mall, I stopped to drool over look at some Movado watches. I was practically pounced upon by a saleswoman who would not leave me alone. "Six months interest-free financing!" Not today, thanks. "Free layaway!!" No really, NOT TODAY. "We can have a credit decision in minutes!!!" Ugh. Tell you what, lady, thanks for your card; if and when I decide to splurge on that watch, I most definitely will NOT be visiting you.

Which leaves us with the evil demonic type "who buys only during big sales." Well yeah. In other words, the intelligent customer. Whether it's the aforementioned Movado watch, or a fifty inch DLP rear-projection HDTV monitor, these are not necessities we're talking about. They are luxury items. Discretionary items. Why would I spend $X when I could spend $X minus 10%?

I'm a little upset that Best Buy is mentioned so prominently in the article linked above. During last year's spell of non-productive employment, I worked at a Best Buy to keep a little income flowing and to keep me from going crazy. I guess I still feel a connection to the company; I always liked them a bit better than Circuit City anyway. But, aren't they the ones who built a whole advertising campaign around letting the customer come in to play with the equipment? I guess that might still be OK, as long as you don't bother the sales people.

Anyway, as a result of my four and half months there, I know a bit about Best Buy's marketing tactics, which I'd be glad to write about. They're no angels, I can promise you that.

Perhaps the demon retailers had better clean up their own acts before trying to drive away customers. Just a thought.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

This Just In -
Graebel still sucks.

I called their "after hours" number last night and explained my situation and stressed that I needed to know what was going on. It was promised that I'd receive a call "first thing" this morning. It's 12:23PM. Not morning anymore.

I just called them again, and of course the guy who answers the phone is not able to help. They don't even have a delivery schedule listed for me at this point. My furniture is sitting in a warehouse in Chantilly, VA. Maybe some of my DC friends could go say "hi" to it for me. Tell my leather recliner how much I miss it.

Anyway, the previously stated delivery window of the 8th through the 12th has been closed. I've been defenestrated.

So tell all your friends, if you're moving, DO NOT CHOOSE GRAEBEL MOVERS.

And I Thought The Gold Box Was Bad

Amazon has really gone off the deep end this time. I went to the main page so that I could find my way to the place where I re-list the books and CDs I have for sale. I was greeted by something called my "plog." Clicking on the "What is a plog" link gave me a page that tells me "The Plog™ Service is a personalized blog" and "Your Plog is a diary of events that will enhance your shopping experience."

OK, the whole idea of a "push blog" is strange enough, right? But in case the poor unwashed masses don't know what a bog is to begin with, the provide "a list of some of the best and most popular blogs" which includes the following line:

  • respected intellectual columnist blogger

In my feedback to Amazon, telling them how much I don't want a "plog" I made sure to tell them:

And for the record, in your list of Blogs, Andrew Sullivan is most decidedly NOT respected nor intellectual, he's a craven toady who is roundly despised by almost all intelligent gay men, if not intelligent people throughout the world.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Graebel SUCKS

I was supposed to get my furniture today.

At least that's what my "move co-ordinater" told me on Tuesday.

So I took the morning off (I actually have no earned time off at this point, having taken the one day that I've banked last Friday to be in Richmond for the load out). At 9:30, I called my co-ordinater and had to leave a voice mail. Half an hour later, she called me back. "Oh gosh, I don't know what happened, but there's no driver assigned to your delivery anymore, and nobody told me." She's going to "look into it" and get back to me. I tell her to call me at my work number.

4:35 PM. No word yet. I call. Have to leave voice mail again. SHE DID NOT CALL BACK BEFORE THE END OF THE DAY. They have my work number, my home number, and my mobile. It's now 8:05 PM. WTF??

I guess I won't see my furniture till next week sometime.

Did I mention that GRAEBEL SUCKS?

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Lost and Found

Yesterday while driving back to Georgia, I was listening to an NPR show The Connection. It was announced as a reprise, because of the holiday, I'm sure, but the topic of the show that I heard was FOUND Magazine. The magazine publishes "found" notes, shopping lists, letters, etc that have been found on the street, in the bushes, placed on cars, etc. The founder (ahem) of the magazine and website, Davy Rothbart, has published a book of these items, and during the radio show he and the host read some of them to illuminate their discussion. (To listen to the show, go to this page.)

In many cases, these scraps create a mystery which is unsolveable. What was it about Amber's parent's anyway? According to the note that was read on air, it wasn't "what you'd think."

It was fascinating to listen to these things, but I almost felt like I shouldn't be. There was a letter from somebody to his dad that just about made me cry.

The feeling, to me, is similar to what I feel when I see those impromptu roadside memorials. I am intrigued by the mystery -- who died here? How did it happen? (This side plot in Y Tu Mama Tambien is one of the reasons I loved that movie so much.) But part of me is appalled. Do not make me party to this tragedy. I did not know this person.

A few years ago, I was walking around Hollywood Cemetery with the guy I was seeing at the time, taking photographs of the interesting monuments, etc. We came across one little angel statue with an outstretched hand, and there was a folded up piece of paper in it. He wanted to take it and read it, but I was quite adamant about just leaving it. Although it was in a public place, it just seemed so private. I didn't want to intrude.

While I was listening to the radio show, I thought about blogging and how it might be similar. Or maybe it's not. Blogging is voluntary and not quite as anonymous. There are some blogs that are quite personal and revealing -- GeekSlut (adult supervision required, blah blah blah), for example -- but still, a blogger still has the final edit on what gets posted. And in general, you know who wrote the blog. And yet, there are times when you "stumble across" a blog via a search or by blindly following links and you find yourself thrust into somebody's life.

These found scraps seem so revealing, but revealing to who? Do the notes themselves reveal something about their authors, or do our reactions to them reveal something about ourselves?

In any case, I wish FOUND magazine had been around when my friend J found a shopping list in a Walgreen's somewhere in Florida:
  • Gin
  • Pills
  • Mascara

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Weekend Humor, part 2

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Weekend Humor

Friday, July 02, 2004

I Was Thinking Of The Immortal Words Of Socrates

"I Drank What?!
Urrggh. Didn't get in till after 3:30 this morning. Partially due to traffic around Atlanta, partially due to rain (which I guess is because of my flippant "creeks don't rise" comment yesterday), and partially because of the half hour I spent loading up on goodies at one of the fireworks places in SC.

After I got here, I immediately started a load of laundry, since the movers would be taking the washer and dryer. Then I went to bed. Then I got up at about 4:30 to put the first load of laundry into the dryer and start another one. Got up at 7:30 to make sure all drawers and shelves on items to be packed and moved were empty. Made some coffee by blindly grabbing what was in the fridge.

In my sleep-deprived state, I didn't notice that it was decaf, leftover from my Mom's last visit.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


Kudos to the Cassini spacecraft team.

Road Trip

No Sleep Til Glen Allen
I leave right after work (or as soon as I'm packed) to drive up to Richmond. I should be getting to my house around 2:00 AM, the good lord willing and the creeks don't rise. The movers are supposed to show up between 8 and 9. Considering I have to empty drawers and bookcases before they get there, I guess I'm looking at three or four hours of sleep. Ugh.