Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea(rs)

We went to Sears to look for baby stuff (apparently finding a car seat you like is no easy task) and had trouble finding the corner of the 50,000 square feet of retail space they hid their Infant & Toddler section.

We asked a kindly looking gentleman where to go, he pointed us in the right direction... then followed us to make sure we didn't need further assistance. 10 minutes later we were good to go; no car seat, they keep the vast majority of their catalog online like the rest of the world, but we did find a really cute dress on clearance, and this same gentleman was waiting at the cash register.

He asked if we found everything ok.
"Uh... sure."

He asked if we were interested in joining the Baby rewards membership program.
"No thanks."
He then launched into a 5 minute description of the Baby rewards membership program. The accumulation of benefits, no cost to you, easy sign up.... the works.

He asked if we were interested in joining the Sears rewards membership program.
"No thanks."
He then launched into a 5 minute description of the Sears rewards membership program. This time it was all about the differences and similarities of the two programs.

He asked if we would take a short survey describing our shopping experience.
"Uh... sure."
He then launched into a 5 minute description of the surveying process. How to call, how many questions they'll ask, what we get for our time... the works.

He asked if there was anything he could do to make sure we would give him a "10"... and he drew a 10 inside a cute little circle on our receipt as a friendly reminder.

By the third question we were both having a hard time keeping a straight face, wondering what else he could possibly ask. And then he kept going! Over and over, explanation after long explanation!

We walked away laughing... and promptly threw away the receipt with the perfect 10 inside a cute little circle.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Don't look!

I travel quite a bt for work, and this last time I got upgraded to first class for being such a loyal customer to one of the worst airlines in the nation (my work doesn't let me make my own travel arrangements surprise surprise).

The difference between coach and first class was like night and day. The whole flight crew was falling all over themselves to try and make my 3 and a half hour flight the bestest aviation experience ever. I had a waitress that would bring me practically anything I wanted.

Bring me the head of a pig!" "Have someone from coach fiddle for me. Amuse me!"

It was a little bit silly. They gave me free snacks, drinks (alcoholic or non), a full meal, hot towels (which if you have no idea why your stewardess is handing you a hot towel is quite an awkward experience), pillows and blankets, headphones and well wishes at the end of the trip.

By the end of my trip it was actually making me a little uncomfortable. Every time I made eye contact with the uber-perky flight attendant, she would come over. "Do you need anything?" for the upteenth time. Smile, "no, I'm fine," for the upteenth time.

I would never pay for a seat in first class, partly because the extra $1000 is not going to get you there any faster, and mostly because when I woke up halfway between Phoenix and Chicago, my big comfy plush first class recliner still gave me a crick in my neck!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I went to the gym last night for the first time in a long time, and I noticed something I thought was interesting. The place was almost deserted (which isn't all that interesting seeing as how i got there at 10:00pm), but every single person working out was wearing earphones except me and the one guy who worked there.

Did I miss the memo? Is this the new thing, exercise in isolation? Any time I wanted to ask a question, I had to ask at least twice, the first to get their attention, wait for them to take out one of their ear buds (never both), and then I could ask my question.

A few years ago I remember laughing at That Guy, wondering what was so special about HIS music that he couldn't bear to be without it, but now I'm the odd man out with my non-headphoned exercising.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don't guess at that ever, ever, ever, ever...

There is a story in the news today about a South African... athlete... that broke the world record in the women's 800 meter run. Problem is, they're not sure she's a woman. They're doing gender testing to determine if her muscular build and deep voice are womanly characteristics.


Mostly, I just want to know one thing: who was the schmuck who had to break that news to her?

I'm sorry ma'am... sir... individual... We're not sure if you're a chick or not, so we're going to hang on to this world record for you, until we can be sure you're not actually a guy.

I thought the rule was "don't guess at that ever, ever, ever, ever, ever..."

Monday, July 20, 2009

ASU, ASU, how do I despise thee, let me count the ways

It's funny how three little letters (well, technically they're capitalized) can symbolize so much frustration and debt and angst and general malice toward an institution of higher education.

So here's the story: I got accepted to the Master's program at Arizona State in April after almost failing a portion of the GRE (seriously scored in the 5th percentile in the writing). Happy day, all is well. Then comes the juggernaut of bureaucracy that is our lovely maroon and gold hometown hero. Since receiving my acceptance letter the second week of April, I have been trying to find out which classes I need to take in order to graduate. Seems a simple enough request, right?


The graduate advisor told me to contact a list of my undergraduate professors, who should be able to help me find a suitable course of study. Great, except for the one tiny little insignificant problem that 1: they are on vacation 2: the ones that aren't on vacation are working to meet deadlines and have no time to meet with new students 3: the ones that aren't on vacation or working to meet deadlines have no money or lab space and 4: the graduate advisor either quit or got fired by the time I found out that problems 1 through 3 pretty much excluded every undergraduate professor I liked (and some I didn't).

Great. So where does that leave me? Up a creek as it were...

They finally hired a new advisor (and by "hired," I of course mean "stole from a different department") who was very helpful and gave me a piece of paper with everything I needed to know in order to find the classes I needed.

"This was just sitting on her desk, I'm not sure what it is, but it looks helpful."

My brother in law is finally graduating after almost a year and a half of needing 1 class about which ASU was being patently ridiculous. He started the "I Hate ASU" club, and as the president and founder, has granted me full card-carrying membership.

Here's to 2(+) years of ASU drudgery!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Table for One Please...

I get to travel a lot because of my job. It is almost always a lot of fun (except for the working part), and I have absolutely fallen in love with Baltimore. I am almost always by myself on these trips; even when they send someone to work with me, I always eat alone. It used to bother me to walk into a restaurant and watch the hostess crane her neck to see if there is someone else behind me or if I seriously just walked into her restaurant alone. To eat by myself. Alone. Now I just shrug and say, "it's just me..." or "Table for one please..."

I actually like eating alone now; I get a big kick out of watching other people in the restaurant. The big groups are my favorite. The conversation is usually driven by one or two Me-Monsters, with the people on the ends of the table are almost as alone as I am.

Since my wife started PA school, she's been staying with the in-laws while she works with a family practice doctor in her home town. She'll be gone all summer, meaning my solitary dining situation has followed me home. Eating by yourself at home is not nearly as interesting, because watching the entertaining family includes commercials and a laugh track.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Recipe for Family Fun

I love my in-laws, but sometimes I can't help but laugh at the things they do. All families have their quirks, mine is certainly no exception, and my in-laws are country folk and all that that implies. Last year for Christmas my new grandma gave my wife and I a cookbook with all the family recipes. Most of the recipes in the cookbook had someone's name attached so if you liked Mom's potato salad better than Grandma's, you could have the option. We were flipping through it looking for dinner ideas (the hardest part of cooking without a doubt) and we came on this recipe: Chicken Cord On Blue. It doesn't sound nearly as funny to put it in print, but my wife and I thought it was histerical. Someone figured out how to make Chicken Cordon Blue (which in my mind is the hard part), but didn't know how to spell it!