Sunday, April 29, 2007

Steve Beats Best Buy...

In the ongoing saga regarding our laundry machines, I got $60 back from Best Buy today.

The situation from the other day got a little worse before it got better. Because they smashed the door on the new machine and because I bought the "open box" model, Best Buy was pretty much screwed. They had two choices: Fix the door quickly or cut the losses and bring me a new washing machine. They chose the new machine, which was great.

They still had their head up their ass when it came delivering though. I needed the machine at the latest by Friday. We ended up getting it yesterday between 3pm-5pm. And that was the key to the whole thing I am gonna talk about next.

I went to Best Buy this morning. I have had laryngitis the past few days. I cannot raise my voice without coughing. I sound like crap! So I get there when they opened at 10. I stand in the return line until it was my turn.

So I finally got to the counter. I actually was attempting to return two things. First, they were supposed to deliver two electrical cords. Our house is around 100 years old and we did not know if there was a four prong 220V outlet for the dryer or a three prong when we made the purchase. So we bought both. During the whole delivery fiasco, they never brought the second plug, only the proper three prong one. So I pleaded my case and got $20 and some change back.

But on the $40 delivery charge got the ole talk to the hand treatment on the first attempt. So I prodded along telling my story for the second attempt. I was like, "Dude, c'mon... I purchased the delivery time to have my units set up on the 23rd at 4:30PM. Both units finally were set up on Saturday but I paid to have them set up on the 23rd."

The sales manager was understanding but her response was, "Yeah, we broke the door and instead of repairing it, we sent you a new machine which was an extra cost to us. However the time request you purchased was for you to set a time and day. Normally we just set up blocks not specific times and we give you a couple of days. We set up a new time and date for Saturday." So what she was saying was, we realize we fucked up but what that $40 charge is for, is to set up a specific time. Since we broke the machine, we set up a specific time for the second delivery.

Pretty much most people would have accepted her explanation. She did a great job. She really sold that $40 charge well. And she had too. On their return policy there is no return available for the specific time thing. And if they missed that time, the return was automatic. But since she pretty much proved they didn't miss their two times, they were in the clear. Right?

Well... not so fast.

Seeing that I am a seasoned vet at sales, I was actually listening. (which is rare for me) I told her in the beginning that the unit wasn't delivered until yesterday. We had to wait between 3pm and 5pm for it to come. I explained that we did not get a choice of the 2nd delivery. We were at the mercy of the shipping company they used. I also indicated that when the person showed up to deliver on Wednesday, he came at 2pm, not 4:30pm and he waited until my wife came home. The second time was a block and not a specific time. I had no choice.

It was awesome when she spun around and grabbed a gift card. She really was stuck. There was no button on the register to override and knock that $40 off. So she handed me a gift card and said, "Will this make you happy?" Let's see, $60, $20 back to the VISA and a gift card for $40 to spend at Best Buy... Nothing could make me happier. I went up against the Blue Box and won.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Steve Pimps Sling Box


I got Slingbox the other day for my TV box at home and let me just say: I am hooked!! This is freaking great. Especially when you go on the road. You can watch all that TV you pay for at home like HBO or Stars or CNN and Fox News or all those other channels you don't get at the hotel. It's cool stuff. And if I wanted to, I can buy a movie on the road from DirecTV and broadcast it back to myself.

Really simple to use. You plug the audio and video cables from the Satellite box into the back of Sling Box and then connect it to your router. Once that is done you run this program to find your box through a series of network tools and password set ups. Then BOOM!! You are done, dude!

Cool stuff...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday 4:30 PM: The Great Washing Machine Odessey

So... like, um... on Friday... I discovered my washing machine was broke. The tranny was blown. The agitator was not working. We were screwed. Baby clothes. Our clothes. Nothing. I quickly packed a bag of business clothes for the weak and headed to the "retreat" in Tahoe to wash clothes. (I like saying that... We don't have a retreat and we already planned to be there... I just brought laundry).

Anyhow... Don't buy from Best Buy. I requested a delivery at 4:30 today. I paid $40 to pick my day. I wanted it at this specific time. But noooooo.... They wanted to deliver yesterday. We told them no... come today at the required $40 pre-selected time of 4:30 pm. So what happens? I get a call at 2pm , "Hey man, this is Best Buy is anyone home so we can deliver?" No dude, I am not at home and I specifically said 4:30; TODAY!!!

So like, what happens? Well... I'll tell you. But actually, this other dude calls first at 2:45PM and says he is outside my house. "What the f---?" I say..,. "READ THE F-KING receipt ya bastard, 4-freaking 30."

"Uhh... " the guy blirts, "I am two hours from home in Livermore and I have to wait?"

"Fuck yeah!!! You freaking wait. 4:30 pm..." is what I said. (as my sister in laws eyes burn out from my F-Bombs they are reading here). So the darling wife is home... right now. As I type... Dealing with this nasty situation that is snowball-spiraling into an incredible shit storm of Homer-rrifc proportions (hence the title, Odyssey) because... because.... because...

The freaking door to the washing machine is smashed into pieces!! So here we are, pretty much fuct at this point... no washer and a huge issue for Best Buy. I swear to God, if I have to go there on Saturday, I am getting a free Nintendo Wii for my troubles... Not to mention my $40 back. I feel like that kid from "Better Off Dead" with the whole, "I want my $2" thing that John Coussak had to deal with before that skiing competition. (Lawryde and Lawryde's wife... that is an 80's movie that is quite funny. You remember the 80's don't you?)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Been In My Head All Day...

Bob Geldof looks like he aged 15 years for The Wall after this.

That's what I get for falling asleep with CNN on last night. How eerie that this song was written about a girl who went into her school in San Diego and shot everyone up! I had it in my head when I woke up this morning. I put it on my iPod on the plane this morning... (though I had Boomtown's other hit Diamond Smiles on after...)

Subliminal marketing right?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This Is Friggin Torture

Virginia Tech School Shooting - Click Here for more great videos and pictures!

To vent:

I am bewildered by what happened at VA Tech. I cannot think of who would take a gun and be so selfish as to take that many lives out. It is totally perplexing and totally sad. I have been in and out of my hotel room all day and all I see are grieving kids. It reminds me of a time back in college when a good friend of mind lost her life trying to cross a river on a hike. I just remember going to school and all of us there crying our eyes out as we held a vigil. I was at the age of the kids here at VA Tech. One life or 33 is one too many.

I got in tonight to relax and every channel has got something to say. Some kid describing the shooter or some friends of someone who died describing how great the person was they knew died. Every channel, including ESPN... even American Idol, which I watched for the first time this year because I wanted to see what a freak Sanjaya was. They even had something to say tonight. That ever fake, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of the victims in the tragedy in Virginia".

The switch is definitely flipped on right now. People are sad. People... strangers you meet in an airport walking by a newsstand have something to say. They are pointing at the headlines. Then there is the ever present gun control debate that people in the hallway of my hotel are having while they venture in from the cold from having a smoke.

Guys... well, guys like me... say they are strong when it comes to this stuff. I don't sit here and cry. Nor am I glued to the news on this one. Even though what I see reminds me of losing that one friend in college, I start channel surfing. I don't need to see Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo duke it out again. Not for this one. I don't need to see Larry King... or those hacks on MSNBC, recycling and rehashing everything that is ever going to be said about our nemesis Cho and his collection of Glocks. How he got the Glocks and how many bullets he shot. I don't need to see Hannity and Colmes interviewing a student and having them "take us through yesterday...tell us what happened to your friend that was shot... did they make it?" Well, maybe they didn't say that but... it's so jumbled from channel surfing that is what I hear from it all.

Just make it end... I know we can't... But please, just make it end...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Caution: Elijah At Play!!!

So tired he was... then I think he peed himself at the end. Poor little guy has a tooth coming in. His facial expressions are amazing!!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Don Imus Firing: Some Final Thoughts

Don Imus.

Never listened to the guy anyway. I know who he is. He's probably pretty liberal. I wouldn't know fully. I am sure he had an honorable career and seems like he cared a lot socially about a lot of things.

What he said was deplorable, especially in the forum and context in which he said what he said. I think when you are touching 70 million plus listeners everyday, you really ought to be more careful. Same goes to Rush. Same goes to Franken. Hannity. Dr. Laura. You gotta be careful.

But think about something for a minute. Is what he said an uncommon American utterance? Picture yourself in college. Your hanging with the guys. The Heineken is flowing. You had a tough round of some Frisbee Golf or what have you, and something comes on TV, or some people walk by, or you ran into some strange circumstance at the 7-11 where you picked up that Heineken and you say to your buddies in your group, between the 4-5 of you and only that group: "Man, those hoes be crazy" or "Those are some tough assed bitches". And your friends will laugh, then hit you up for 5 bucks to buy the beer. And it won't be thought of again. And it was completely harmless.

Is it really that Imus is a racist or is he guilty of accepting the current pop culture? Al Sharpton will tell you Imus and people like him, or even me for bringing the double standard pop culture into this argument, are racists. Yet, the marketing pop/Hollywood/movie/music scene that the Beatles started in the 60's and brought to Public Enemy in the 1990's is the social catalyst not the socially responsible cause of the problem here. We accept things said between people and cultures that weren't being said 40-50 years ago. That one thing though, comes along and the stars all line up and it is said in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong context and the world wakes up and realizes that we've become morally corrupt. It's kind of amazing if you think about it. You flip on some rap and some pretty derogatory shit comes on. Same goes with some shock rock like Marilyn Manson or some Tarantino film or some Kevin Smith dialog. We hear it or see it and in those contexts we call it art. But if we say it publicly to millions, out of the context of art and we're dead in the water.

Imus deserved to lose his job even though, we all would have said the same thing in front of our own friends and families. Amazing.

Friday, April 06, 2007


All I can say is... if you liked Sin City and all of the Tarantino movies, go see this double feature. Two movies for the price of one. I am not a spoiler and I will not spoil this film for anyone. All I can say is, Rodriguez and Tarantino brought this 70's genre back in a good way. The only thing I wish is that Tarantino would have used a green Mustang Fastback instead of the White Challenger for one of the chase scenes.

We both had the day off and Elijah was at day care so we went to the first showing. Besides my wife, the crowd that came to see this flick resembled my demographic to the tee. White, mid 20's to mid 30's white male. All laughing together. Weren't too many woman. One brought a baby which is pretty foolish after seeing the first part.

The movie is basically two shows with different stories. The only common denominator is that Rose Macgowan is in both and Tarantino acts in both. Some minor characters appear in both and even some from past Tarantino movies that you won't realize until well after you saw it. You'll be like, "Wasn't he that character in that other movie" Or "hey that person played the same role" kinda stuff. Lots of surprise cameos.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My 914 Porsche with New Wheels

I had some new wheels installed on my 914 today. I bought some replicas of the wheels I already had on it. The old wheels were pretty destroyed and would cost a fortune to restore. I'll save those for a rainy day. I found a deal on wheels at Bugformance in Sacramento. Had to re-cut my stock lugs to fit. This car looks hot now. Up next, a new windshield and some new Porsche caps for these wheels. $264 bucks for authentic Porsche caps!! What a rip!! Need some new weather stripping as well. Gonna eventually need to attack that tranny but I have years of fun left before that. I have to repaint the passenger front fender though you couldn't tell unless you looked for it. Some Orange Porsche decals would look good down the lower rocker panels as well.

Click on picture to make it bigger.

Monday, April 02, 2007

When It Comes To The Environment: Hummer Beats Prius

Here's a little inconvenient truth to any smug, condescending liberal who thinks Al Gore's shit doesn't stink:

When it comes to the environment, Hummer beats Prius hands down.

I had this startling revelation occur to me TWICE today in two different instances. One was from a psychologist and the other was in his waiting room while reading the National Geographic. (Note to Darling Wife: Let's get a subscription for it off one of your cheap websites).

As most of you know, we're a Hummer family. Proud owners frankly. My wife took a rear ender in it a few weeks back and all we had was a scratched bumper. Needs to say the other car needed some nice repairs and some paint. We get a new panel and they get a big bill. No biggy. No one was hurt.

This morning while at the doctor, I was reading the National Geographic from last year. It didn't dawn on me until way after that I should have taken down the issue number for this post. Anyhow, the article was talking about man has introduced new species into areas of the world and how the wreak havoc on the environments. Frogs in Hawaii. Snakes in the Everglades. You get what I am talking about. The article featured a fisherman in the San Francisco Bay and how ships from overseas have introduced foreign sea water into the bay killing off many species of fish that once thrived there. The article mentioned how when these large ships keep from tipping over by filling their hulls with sea water to keep them balanced. I then began to think of all of those foreign cars that come into SF Bay from Japan and Korea. Namely the hot selling Prius. The little "eco-friendly" car that brings a cancer to San Francisco's fishing industry with each boat load. Apparently the micro-organisms in the Asia water don't play well with the micro organisms in the bay which is disrupting the food chain and killing sea life. The article mentioned there were laws against this but whether they get totally followed or monitored is up for debate. We aren't talking a few gallons of water, we're talking thousands and they have to be emptied when the ship is unloaded. WOW!!! I never knew this.

The second thing came from my doctor and he told me how the Prius's battery or the stuff needed to make the battery comes out of some nickel plant in Canada. I found this article regarding this on Green Mesh.

To quote:

Building a Toyota Prius causes more environmental damage than a Hummer that is on the road for three times longer than a Prius. As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.

The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius’ battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist’s nightmare.

“The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside,” said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper.

All of this would be bad enough in and of itself; however, the journey to make a hybrid doesn’t end there. The nickel produced by this disastrous plant is shipped via massive container ship to the largest nickel refinery in Europe. From there, the nickel hops over to China to produce ‘nickel foam.’ From there, it goes to Japan. Finally, the completed batteries are shipped to the United States, finalizing the around-the-world trip required to produce a single Prius battery. Are these not sounding less and less like environmentally sound cars and more like a farce?

Wait, I haven’t even got to the best part yet.

When you pool together all the combined energy it takes to drive and build a Toyota Prius, the flagship car of energy fanatics, it takes almost 50 percent more energy than a Hummer - the Prius’s arch nemesis.

Through a study by CNW Marketing called “Dust to Dust,” the total combined energy is taken from all the electrical, fuel, transportation, materials (metal, plastic, etc) and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime of a vehicle. The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles - the expected lifespan of the Hybrid.

The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles. That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use less combined energy doing it.

So... that adds to the ongoing debate regarding the environment. Most of the quoted text comes from the Greenpeace leader in Canada? Eh? Pretty bad when Greenpeace is picking apart the Prius. I'll stick to enjoying my family's safety, the ability to carry home our IKEA Furniture without renting a Diesel Truck and our trips to the snow.