Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Take on 311 inefficiency

I think Flavor Flav said it best with 311 is a joke. Mayor Bloomberg set up the 311 service a few years ago as part of his run a city like a business initiative to help with efficiency. Now I have used it a number of times and it is pretty helpful when it comes to parking regulations and to report a minor problem but when I dealt with them recently it hit me how ridiculously inefficient it really is

Two weeks ago I call 311 to schedule a pickup of a couple of broken air-conditioners and was told to put them out on Tuesday night for tagging so they can be picked up on Thursday. A few days later I realize that I wouldn't be able to put them out as I'd be traveling so I called 311 to reschedule.

Righetti. I have an appointment for an AC tagging tomorrow but I won't be able to get it out on the sidewalk in time so need to reschedule

311 lady. We cannot reschedule appointments

Righetti. I am in California and can't put in out what should I do

311 operator. Our system doesn't allow for rescheduling You could cancel and set another appointment

Righetti sounds good, please cancel my appointment

311 operator Sorry but since it is within 24 hours of your appointment it cannot be cancelled

Righetti :confused: what should I do since I cannot out them out

311 operator You can't cancel but you can call back and set up a new appointment later this week after the initial appointment

Righetti. That's odd, it is all computerized and it's still 22 hours away.

311 operator. Our system doesn't allow for it

Righetti what happens to the appointment for tomorrow?

311 operator. They will come out and mark it down as 'no appliance left on sidewalk'

Righetti. Is there a penalty

311 operator. No

Righetti. Thank you but that seems crazy. You will still send somebody out to check on an item which I am guaranteeing won't be out there?

311 operator. Yep

Righetti. And I have to call back another time to set up an appointment?

311 operator. Yep

So in a time where every city is desperate for money we send people out to pick up recyclables that aren't there and will now ensure that I have to make another appointment which means another operator has to take another call which obviously has a cost

Well last week I finally put out the AC's on Tuesday night for tagging after I set a new appointment just as I was instructed. Problem is that they were gone before i woke up at 7AM the next morning. I figure they were probably taken by one of those crazies who walk the streets collecting cans or those roving bandits who collect scrap metal. In other words those tagging guys came out another day to find nothing on the stoop.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

take on the Harlem lights

For a mayor who prides himself on efficiency and a city who trumpets energy saving all over the MTA billboards, we found it more than a bit ironic when we drove past the raised subway station at 125th and Broadway on Sunday night when all mass transit had been halted for at least 30 hours and saw the platform lit up like the tree at Rockefeller Center.   Obviously the city had announced days earlier that all mass transit would be stopped on Saturday at noon and even Sunday evening it was clear that it would not be running again till sometime Monday but still the subway station looked like it was fully operational.  So there is no train service and the city has spent millions on Hurricane preparedness, the MTA cries every year about not having enough money, there are thousands without power in Queens and Staten Island yet nobody could be bothered to turn off the light switch?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Take on the information black hole

On days when there is a crisis, I am always impressed with how well this city comes together but when it takes 2 hours to commute in, I want to scream. Now of course we realize that Irene knocked out service and getting back to normal will take a few days but it is the typical black hole of information that is the MTA.
The only announcement we keep hearing is a vague one about train traffic up ahead and I know only because I am on one that the D and N trains were rerouted onto the local tracks joining the miserably slow R. When there is no semblance of normalcy, the one thing you could ask is some clarity including where an express train might be available. I also have to ask why would you close the express tracks if there is no flooding and you are only causing congestion in the tunnels by routing three lines onto one set of tracks? There is no water on the tracks as they sit directly adjacent to the local one and the Q and B are running normally into Manhattan and the trains arrived on the express tracks from Coney Island only to stop at 36th where you force everybody onto the local and then have them get back onto the express at Dekalb.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

take on the cell-phone cops

If there a job in this world where it is more acceptable to spend the entire 8 hours you are on the clock yapping on a cell phone than an NYPD officer, I've yet to find it.      I have to say that it is very discouraging when on a day when city services like subways are closed, streets are flooded, trees are down and people are trying to get back to their evacuated homes and to see a bunch of guys standing on a street corner yapping on their phones with absolutely no regard of the overall situation.  You just know these guys are all on time-and-a-half on a day like this and when I see guys huddled in a bagel shop or surfing the web, I really wonder if Ray Kelly has completely lost his troops..    When your job where your main objective is to be vigilant with your eyes and ears open, how is this acceptable behavior.  You don't see the toll collector at the GWB texting, you don't even see the pimpled faced kid working at Burger King have this kind of disregard for his responsibility and you sure as hell don't see the average guy who goes to work get away with spending their entire workday conversing on a phone.  Obviously everybody appreciates everything cops do for us everyday and this is in no way a knock on the heroes from 9/11 but it is becoming a complete epidemic; walk around NYC and every cop on the corner is either texting, standing in a circle shooting the shit or talking on a cell-phone.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Take on mass hysteria

at I don't get is that cities and states do nothing but fan the flames of hysteria. Two decisions stand out:
-Bloomberg ordering the sensible evacuation of low lying properties by 5pm today
- The MTA shutting down train service by noon today

Does anybody see the issue here. The hurricane is not supposed to hit until late tonight yet we shut down mass transit a full 12 hours in advance. You are setting yourself up for a mass exodus using the main arteries out of the city. Cars will be backed up for a hundred miles on the BQE, the Henry Hudson and the thruway. It'll be like Woodstock without the free love and Jimi Hendrix.
Honestly I thought the idea was to avoid hysteria and then you tell 100,000 people to leave their homes and go into a shelter

Friday, August 26, 2011

take on the greatest storm of all time

so there is a rumor floating around that there might be some rain in the NYC area and the local grocery stores, bodegas, gas stations and fruit stands couldn't be happier.  A buddy of mine said that this morning in the local shop-rite looked like Black Friday with fights between house-wives over gallons of water and batteries.  Now obviously we at TOR will take the cynical approach and say that the chances of Katrina NYC is just not very likely and this is all a bunch of hype.   I will guess that unlike Black Friday prices at stores are probably be elevated and something tells me that those house-wives weren't a bunch of scantily dressed MILF's with the fight happening all over the Jello aisle which I'm sure you were imagining 
But it's the only thing anybody will talk about whether it's their backup plan in case, just like the little Earthquake everybody feels important all of a sudden.    The TV airways are either wall-to-wall emergency press-conferences from city officials or live scenes bunch of weathermen standing on the shores of North Carolina in a burka like rain-coat.   Major Bloomberg just said they will put life-boats at a bunch of police stations in mid-town.  It's like the world has gone crazy..just yesterday I got a call from a dude in Georgia who said that 'we'll talk next Monday assuming you are still there next week.'   nothing like trying to instil some panic into the situation..   
I will say that I doubt it will live up to the hype but the good news is that I probably won't have to water the garden tonight.
Anyway..our official prediction is that this like the great blizzard of 2010 and the great slip-and-slide from my freshman year in college will underwhelm and Bloomberg will be telling New Yorkers to come out to Broadway by 2pm on Monday although I guess I'll probably cancel my camping trip for Sunday.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

take on the running injury

There are many reasons to run as a sport.   It's exhilarating, it allows you to work out in the great outdoors, it's great exercise and it can be done anywhere.  There are also some downfalls including the damage you do to your joints, the chafing of your fat thighs, calloused dry feet and the ankle sprains but as any runner knows this is all just part of the game…. Running, especially in New York City, is a contact sport with people rushing around the turns like they are giving out free ice-cream cones for the first 200 finishers so getting a bit beat up has always come with the territory so nobody can be surprised when you come back a bit bruised. 

When I removed my shoe after a 4 mile run last night, I had what many runners will know as a pretty common sight…my entire sock was blood red.  I took off my shoe and knew immediately what happened; I split a toe-nail and then sloshed around in this bloody sock for the a few more miles.  My toenails which are usually a nice shade of yellow were now deep red.   Obviously many seasoned runners know the pain of the bloody toe which although not as painful as the broody nipple is still any experienced runners does everything in his power to avoid.   I have run races where my nipples started bleeding from the constant chafing of shirt to nipple skin and I can be seen crossing the finish line with two streaks of red coming directly from my nips.  A bloody toe is similarly gruesome although definitely less painful but reminds you that unlike those idiots on those elliptical machines you are at least participating in real exercise. 


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

take on the airline pricing matrix

Forget Einstein's theory of relativity, I can't even figure out how the hell the major airlines figure out their pricing matrix.    Now part of it has to do when you want to travel, when you book and whether or not you do the idiotic Saturday Night stay-over but considering that if you plan accordingly you can take a 14 hour to China for under $1000 round-trip but when I tried to fly out for a one hour flight to Detroit every airline is asks at least $1000.     I know that there is a supply-demand issue when it comes to this stuff but one of the biggest issues is that with all the airline consolidations there just isn't the kind of competition to keep pricing in line.  

I'm not even talking about a complete last minute fare; this is going out at least a week and even if that would be an issue when I look at similar cities with similar distances from New York the tickets is nowhere near that of a ticket going to Detroit.

Look at what Expedia quotes a direct flight from NYC to various destinations for a flight next Wednesday with a return flight on Thursday

Detroit (616 miles):      $1044  

Columbus (562 miles):  $258

Chicago (792 miles):      $242

Pittsburgh (372 miles):  $218

Cleveland (465 miles):  $1022 

Los Angeles (2792 miles ): $710

What gets me is that Detroit is not some little no-name airport in the middle of Topeka Kansas,  it's not an uncommon destination as there are at least 20 flights per day out of NYC that land in Detroit and it's not as if it doesn't have a major airline serving it as it is a major hub for Delta but getting a normal fair is completely impossible.   It's ridiculous that you can fly an additional 150 miles on the same airline for $750 less and can get out to California for $300 less all with the same travel day criteria.    

Now what gets me is that if you extend your trip by one day and return Friday the Detroit fare drops to $210 so it's not like they aren't willing to fly for that money, it's just that if you are only willing to spend one day there then they just hammer you on the flight.  I guess they realize people who fly to Detroit have very little choice and will go regardless of the fare but still you would think that the city of Detroit would be pushing to have people come and visit them and push the airlines to get some competitive fares going to entice people to come.  I can't tell you how many times I have avoided flying to Detroit for the sole reason that the fare is just ludicrous and each time there is a Holiday Inn, a Budget Rental Car, a local TGI Fridays and the Landing Strip up on 8 mile not getting my US currency.    

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

take on the 'great' earthquake

What the hell does a little tremor do to people to make them go completely nuts, really there is nothing dumber than the reaction people when there is some kind of natural disaster? Living in NYC you don't deal with earthquakes very often but sitting at my desk today we got a little shake at about 2pm and since then every person on the East Coast is in a total panic.  
Although nobody wants to get hurt deep down people have a desire to say they lived through disaster, imagined or not.   Nobody wants to be around a Fukushima but everybody is thrilled they lived through the 'Great Blackout of 2003' and will gladly tell you exactly where they were when the big snowstorm of 2010 came through their town.     It's like their own lives aren't interesting enough that they need to have lived through a great disaster for it their lives to have some merit.    Today the streets of the city are packed with people evacuated out their buildings and although there are no reported injuries or damage every asshole in NYC is comparing this to the apocalypse.  Forget bitching about the weather, the only thing anybody will talk about is 'where they were when the quake of 2011 hit'.       
A buddy working in Rockefeller Center told me that some nutjob came bursting into the office saying 'I survived 9/11, everybody stay calm and then proceeded to run down 40 flights of stairs screaming' which is exactly what you need in a situation like this. 
Of course there is a ton of chatter about this being a 'foreshock' which I guess must mean it's European..  I saw a posting on the internet of a black dude running out of the building and feeling like OJ running through the airport with all the crazy white people staring at him.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Take on the check oil light

When I bought my hybrid Escape a couple of years ago I was pretty happy that I'd be able to keep my carbon-footprint to a minimum and for the most part I've been able to do my part with the 28-32 miles per gallon I've averaged since buying it.   I can get 32 during the  spring and fall months and closer to 28 when using the AC or heat but for the life of the car we're right on that 30MPG sweet-spot.   Another positive about the hybrid is that the salesman told me that because of the dual-engine you only have to change the oil once every 10,000 miles and shows it to me in the service book.     I brought it in about 10 months ago for the first change and wasn't planning on going for the next  one until I hit the 20k mark.

Well when my 'change oil' light came on the other day about 2000 miles shy of the 10,000 milestone, I was pretty surprised.  I check the oil and it looks clean and is still topped off but as I don't want issue I figure I should bring it in any way in case there is a problem with the sensor.

 As I'm talking with the service advisor he tells me that I missed the 15,000 mile oil-change.    I tell him that this is the hybrid and that I was told that I only needed to bring it in with 10,000 mile increments but he rebuts me and tells me that this is only for optimum conditions and since I live in the city it doesn't apply.

My first thought is anger with the saleman as I bought the car from a dealership in the city and he knew that I lived in the city also..  I know you are trying to sell a car but there really is no reason to be deceitful but then something else occurred to me.. how the hell does the car know I live in the city?   If the service book is only scheduled for every 10,000 miles, why would the computer in the car tell you to do anything differently?    I know we're not far from AI but there is just no way for that internal CPU to be able to figure out how treacherous the driving is especially considering I never drive the thing except when I'm on my three-times a month road-trip out to New Englad.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Taking on the stroller

Just because everything is made in China doesn't mean they have to be made to Chinese size and heights. Last week we were given a stroller which seemed light and easy and was in reasonably good condition and as a cheapskate I had no problem taking it. The entire thing seemed like a great deal till I unfolded it and started wheeling my kid around and almost instantly my back started barking. I can't say there was a good reason for it other than the fact the pushing handles are made for somebody who has Patrick Ewing's length arms or is as tall as Mugsy Bogues. After I walked 10 city blocks like I was the hunchback of Notre Dame, I felt like Charlie Weiss Tapdanced on my back because for three days I had a hard time getting out of my chair. So now I am forced to make a choice of buying a brand new stroller, buying some ridiculous extender or walking around like an 80 year old

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Take on the automatic reply all MMS

When a friend sent me a picture of an acquaintance and get kid and I had an immediate urge to text her back 'big girl and I an not talking about the baby' but i held my tongue I didn't grown a conscience overnight but rather was afraid of this weird phenomena I have been noticing when you reply to an MMS which was sent go multiple people on your iPhone. Somehow you reply to this picture and it gets broadcast to everybody who was CC'd to the original message. I have been getting all sorts of random texts that say stuff like 'nice shirt' or 'looks fun' from addresses I did not recognize and it took me weeks to realize they were just replying to some text we both got. It's kind of like a reply-all except -unlike email- you have no idea that you are doing it and as we all know this is leads to some awkward moments

Friday, August 19, 2011

take on the stacked team

As an immigrant I understand the desire for a person coming to a new land to help bask in its riches.   I realize the American Dream for example, is one that appeals to a great many people and a large number of them are willing to defy laws to try to achieve it.    There are political undertones here which we'll leave to 'smarter people' to fight over

There is another part to this which always bothered me.    When a country's team starts importing stars to compete on an international stage.   There is something downright wrong about a country giving a player citizenship only to have him added to their national team.   I don't like to see the US ping-pong team adding some Chinese guy,  our power lifters any guy named Magnes and I don't like the US soccer team standing guard at the Rio Grande and cherry picking guys who look like they can dribble.   

The issue isn't only an American one as it plays itself out in all places of this world..  Just today when I'm watching the Little League World Series I was miffed when I saw the team out of Saudi Arabia.   Here I am expecting to see a bunch of sheiks, tripping on their robes with a visor attached to their turbans but instead it's a bunch of kids who look like they are from Eden Oklahoma.    I swear to you these are a bunch of the whitest kids you have ever seen.  How the hell they are allowed to represent the 'African and Middle Eastern' region is ridiculous especially if you consider they got here only after the team from Uganda got disqualified for having their visas denied because of inconsistencies in their age groups.    I saw a few pictures of those Ugandan kids and –although they all had beards and deep voices - they were at least genuinely African.     

I have to imagine this Saudi Team is based on some US Airforce base where even a bunch of average white-kids dominate against even the Arabians..  sadly for the Yanks they'll find out the hard way that success isn't measured in just LLWS appearances when at 15 the teams they beat are all driving Escalades, swimming in pools of champagne and wiping their asses with crisp Benjamin's.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

take on the direct TV time channel change

Forget that stupid dish you have to put on your roof, forget about the three other dishes that are sitting right next to your dish which the previous tenants have refused to remove and forget about the fact that when it rains badly you can’t get service the single most frustrating thing about Direct TV is when you change channels.    I was house-sitting a few weeks ago and I felt like I was watching TV through an AOL dial-up, I have hair in my ass which grow faster than the time it takes to go from one channel to another on Direct TV.   There is a space in time which feels like an eternity as your Direct TV box interperts what the Direct TV remote commanded and then the message is sent to the actual screen.
I swear that you can sit there channel surfing for 2 hours and a somebody like my buddy The Bump will lose 20 minutes of it while in channel changing limbo.   Maybe Direct TV is just resting on their laurels because they know that except for their receiver/remote combination they have a far superior product to the hell that is Time Warner cable, maybe they have an under-the-table agreement with the networks so people don’t channel surf or maybe the power that is the NFL Ticket takes so much energy that there is nothing left for basic function but I will say that if they hope to get into my house at any point, they are going to have to fix this because I felt like stabbing myself in the scrotum with an ice-pick every time a commercial hit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

take on the most crooked profession out there

A buddy told me that there is some lawyer who is suing her alma mater because she has not been able to find work as an actual lawyer. 

A former local law student is suing her alma mater for $50 million, after she couldn't find a job.

The student, San Diegan Anna Alaburda, graduated with honors from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and passed the bar on her first try. She claims she has been unable to find full-time work as an attorney for the past three years.


I feel for anybody who puts themselves into hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt so they can go into a profession which costs a society so much -literally and figuratively- and offers so little actual value in return, so it is no surprise that this little brat demands to be repaid since she believes modern civilization is an open cookie jar just looking for a loophole to take advantage of it     This is a profession which helps write the laws designed to gouge people and companies out of vast amounts of monies, files thousands of erroneous lawsuits which costs everybody and only helps to propel this own profession and helps to over-regulate the state.   There is no profession whose main focus has such little regard for the destruction it costs so of course we feel for Ms. Alburda in her quest to have Thomas Jefferson repay her tuition cost.  I am sure she'll argue that there was an implied contract where Thomas Jefferson Law had implied she would be ensure employment.   In other words this will cost the law school thousands to defend and will lead to higher tuition for future ambulance chasers.  Exactly what this profession needs


But my issue is that if this does pass muster where does it lead to?  Does that mean that anybody who didn't get exactly what they had been 'promised' out of their years at school will have the ability to sue their schools?  Lawyers who blow their money on blow, accountants who can't figure out how to get into a fortune 500 company or the average Joe Schmo with his degree in communications can't get a job working for an insurance company or a diamond wholesale place. 

Shit  I got my undergrad at Rutgers and feel I didn't dry-hump enough round-girls, does that entitle me to a reimbursement of my meal plan. Then again I am sure RU would have gladly had me opt out as I was a money loser for their meal program as the 45 pounds I found in college proved

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Take on the nanny state

Having spent the morning at one of NYC fine museums up on 83rd street. What this basically means is that I'm the only man within a 50 block radius. In New York City especially on the upper west and east sides there are two types of kids. Bratty ones whose moms are chauffeured around in luxury cars and refer to everybody who works for them l as 'dear'. These kids have never seen the inside of a subway, never wait in line and will feel a sense of entitlement way before they hit the age of ten. But money buys just about anything and at least the kid's are cared for because the other kids at these museums might as well be there alone
The other kids are a bit less spoiled and are carted around by nannies who tend to be gigantic Caribbean women who seem to have absolutely no desire to actually be there. These kids are afforded a lot and their parents work hard to provide for them but sadly probably have no idea what happens to their kids between the hours of 8AM and 6:30PM. It is amazing how many of these nannies you'll see at a museum like this and then how many of them will not out their cell-phones down for a single second.
I saw nannies with both buds of their ipod headphones planted in their ears, ones who didn't even notice that the kid they are responsible for fell down some stairs and other ones who spend the entire time complaining to other nannies.
Their disregard for the job they are paid to do and the human life they are paid to care for is beyond sickening

Monday, August 15, 2011

Take on the fizzeled out campaign

well that didn't last long.    Exactly two months after we predicted it Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the Race for the Republican ticket.
I'd like to do Timmy boy a favor and just let him know right now that he will NEVER be president.  He seems like a nice enough guy and I'm sure he's plenty likable but lets be completely serious..  He looks like the president of the Chess Club and probably spent a lot of time tattling on his elementary school friends.   Honestly look at your boy Mitch Daniels and save yourself and your family the stress and just bow out now, you will never be taken seriously...seriously
this is what gets me about being president, every Dick, George and Tim thinks he can do it and although they might be able to run for office and might be great at it when elected, the chances of it happening are zero.    The things that don't hurt you are are a lack of intelligence (see Bush, George Jr.), a clean past (see Clinton, Bill), ties to mobsters (Obama, Barack), functioning soft brain tissue (Reagan, Ron), morals (Nixon, Dick) etc. but what you do need is charisma and Timmy Pawlenty has about as much personality as a wet rag.   Now this might actually help him govern as he might have been able to concentrate on the issues which are important but it does nothing in terms of actually getting elected and that is going to be an issue.  it's the reason Mike Dukakis got about 12% of the vote, Jim Kerry got gang-banged by a war criminal like a porn-star and Bob Dole never stood a chance.
so I will say this to the wimpy looking white-dudes..stick with what you know and leave the heavy lifting to those guys who've spent their entire careers carrying around their gigantic egos.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Take on the display item

What is more frustrating than shopping all day and finding an item you saw on display not available in inventory. Now I realize the difficulty of stock management so I can't expect everything to be in stock at all times especially at the back end of a rainy weekend.
The problem I have is when customer service is not ready to go above and beyond to find you a suitable replacement. Recently while shopping we find an item we like but when going to the bin it was out of stock. I ask the lady on duty if they had one in the back and I got the look if death and was told 'we don't have a back'
Anyway I ask if I can get the display model and she tells me no because it was there to show people what they had.
Excuse me but you obviously do NOT have this item otherwise i would have bought it. First of all this just reeks of bait and switch and even it is not you are only causing your sales associates a headache by having to constantly answer the same question. If you sell the display item you can have your customer focus on the items you actually have an ability to sell

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Take on the single aisle gas station

I love driving on the Merritt on a nice summer afternoon when the road is clear and the sky above is that perfect color blue. Nothing on a day like that matters as you drive past all those rich uppity white towns with guest houses bigger than your own.
The only thing that can go wrong is having to stop for gas and I'm not even talking about the $4.15 sticker shock. The worst traffic on the Merritt isn't on the two lanes of highway but are caused by these these completely annoying single lane gas pump islands. I try to avoid them because if you get stuck behind a dude filling up his F250 you can e there for hours because you can't get around him. But sometimes you have to and yesterday was one of those lucky days. I drive in, I pull up right behind some old lady getting out of her 1990 Buick Century and I really should have known better. Anybody who is still driving the same car for 20 years will have serious technical difficulties and today was no different. Where I jump out of my car, pop my credit card in, flip over the lever and start dropping 87 octane into my car like I used to put down bottled beers against the hand of justice, she stood staring at the pump for a solid 4 minutes. Then she walked inside presumably to prepay, waddled back outside, stared some more and then went to stick the gas pump into her gas tank when she realized she had forgotten to pull the lever to pop the gas latch. She puts the pump back onto the holster, gets into her car and closes the door. 30 seconds later the little door opens and she gets out and starts the process again including staring at the pump. She finally gets the pump into the gas tank and stands there. I'm about to pull my hair out at this point as it is obvious no gas is flowing into the gas tank. The problem is that the way those gas stations are set up, you can't get past the car because there is only one lane and what seems like 10 minutes ago, a line started forming which completely blocked me in.
Finally she figures out that there is no gas pumping in and somebody yells to her saying she has to pull the trigger on the handle. She finally gets it and the gas meter starts ticking up..... to $10 which in this day and age doesn't even get you two and half gallons ensuring she'll put somebody else trough the misery of pulling up behind her in about about 50 miles

I hate old people

Friday, August 12, 2011

Take on street sweeping rules

One of the things all New Yorkers must deal with on an all too regular basis are the alternate side of the street parking rules. As anybody who has owned a car in this city will array to, we often spend more time circling the block in search of parking spots than we ever do actually driving somewhere. As frustrating as this is, we also realize the necessity of it as people feel like they can use city streets as a gigantic dumpster. But one thing has always bothered us, why the hell can't you park on a street after the sweeper has come by?
Most of the regulations require a two hour window when cars are not allowed to park so the sweepers can come by but once they have made their pass there is no reason why a car shouldn't be allowed to park
In out neighborhood the regulation usually runs from 9:30 to 11AM but the sweeper is almost always done before 10. And them it becomes a total waiting game as cars wait to fill the very limited parking availability in the hood

This is a waste of time and resources and it's gotta end

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Take on the stream

Somewhere over the last couple of years I woke up and got old. My knees creak, I go to bed before 10, my sack dropped and last night I got up three times to take a leak. I have always prided myself on being able to hold my piss like a camel is able to retain water in a desert and once made it on a flight from JFK to Taiwan without ever getting up out of my seat But those feats of mid 20's strength are long gone and lately I find myself standing in front of a urinal more often everyday. Maybe it's an enlarged prostate, maybe it's the early signs of incontinence or maybe I just drink too much coffee but this is starting to affect my sleeping patterns. It hasn't affected stream strength but i know one thing for sure, when I got up each different times last night and each time I must have releases a liter each time. Granted the 3 Asahi's, 2 Miller Lites and one Fat Tire Summer Ale may have had something to do with it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Taking on the hotel shower

For all the traveling I have done, for all the coach seats i have crammed my 6'2" body into and for all the drive-throughs I have eaten at. There is nothing more puzzling than the fact that there are major hotel chains all over this country (I am looking at you Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn and Comfort Suites amongst others) who believe they are located in China. Not because their breakfast buffet includes duck feet or drinking their tap water would make you convulse but because they think that the average traveller is 5'8". It has to be the only explanation because I am told there is nothing quite as good as US engineering. Why else would you put your shower heads at my neck line ensuring my nipples are properly soaked but my head says completely dry.
I realize many American's are probably about as wide as they are tall so maybe they are designed to properly soak a big fat short slob but it does nothing for us average guys.
Maybe they were invented to allow giraffe sized women to keep their hair dry or for people really good at doing the limbo but I assure you that these hotel chains have made it impossible to properly apply, rinse and repeat

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

take on customer service

one thing that really gets to me is that customer service has degenerated to nothing more than some rep reading off a script.    Last week, when I needed to get my IPhone replaced, I walk into the Apple store and walk out after 10 minutes completely satisfied...that is until I realized my phone was draining battery at an exorbitant rate.   Now I've had the exact model, with the exact software, the exact same settings and the exact same apps for a year and know that I should be able to be able to use it for a minimum of 24 hours.  
I march back to the store and explain to another tech what my situation is including the fact it was just replaced for a different physical phone, that my usage is exactly as it always is, that I checked a number of different plugs etc..  I explain I rebooted it and backed it up from ITunes, that I did exactly what they told me to do with the new battery which is charging it to the top and letting it run down to as close to 0 as possible before charging it again and I even thought about sending kumbaya's to Steve Jobs.

when I walked in at 9AM, it had been one hour since I unplugged it from the wall and the battery was already 75% used up while on a typical day I wouldn't even hit the 75% mark till after I got home from work.

tech dude 
"that sound typical"

no it's not i am using it exactly the same amount as I always have and my last device which was the exact same model would last me all day, this one died completely yesterday at 5pm after I unplugged it at work at 1pm"

tech dude
a new battery needs to be conditioned

yes I realize that,like I explained I charged it to 100% and then let it wear all the way down which wasn't hard because that happened 4 hours later.. I also reinstalled ITunes and installed my info from backup

tech dude
you should try to reinstall Itunes

I just told you that I did that

tech dude
it could be an app

as i said, I just backed up so i have the exact same apps and settings as I did a week ago

tech dude
maybe it's the power cord

but I just said that I tried a number of different ones

tech dude
well battery drain is typical for what you are describing, you are probably using it a lot.

I am not sure if I was clear but I used it the same amount as I always have

Tech Dude
well if you last charged it in yesterday..

like I mentioned I just unplugged it an hour ago

tech dude
you probably used it a lot

I used it the same amount as I always do

tech dude
different models of phones have different battery usage

but I'm telling you that my last phone did not have this issue, it was the same exact IPhone 4 model.

tech dude
it was probably a different phone like the IPhone 3G

no..i just told you that it was the same IPhone 4

tech dude
I guess this is what you can get from a battery on the IPhone

but my last phone gave me a full day of use

tech dude


tech dude
anything else you need?

I guess not

tech dude
have a nice day

tech dude
try turning off WiFi..

I can do that but I'm telling you that I always had it on with my old phone

Monday, August 8, 2011

Take on the Facebook-psycho connection.

There was a report today that said that after years of research they find that people who spend a lot of time on Facebook are prone to have psychological issues.  This is yet another case where some university spent thousands of dollars basically telling you that water is wet.    Let's break it down this way, anybody who has transplanted his or her real world for virtual community is probably not all with it and to think he might also abuse cats, masturbate incessantly or start fires in garbage pales does not at all surprise me.

I've been saying for months that Facebook is getting ready for a major nosedive and I'll use this as exhibit #82.    A few weeks ago I read that people are spending less time on average on the website and it just doesn't surprise me most of the 200+ 'friends' on my lists don't post anything anymore and the only ones that do are the kind of people who you know sit in their parent's basement most nights in front of a computer.    When the only people that participate are grandmothers, aunts and that weird cousin then you know you have lost all credibility and any sense of 'cool'   I have to say that there is probably nothing more depressing than having your entire social world revolve around what some kid you went to high-school posts about his weekend and honestly I am worried about the direction of the next generation if this is their main method of communication and interaction.   This type of interaction is isolating and all nuance is lost in conversation when you depend solely on emoticons will lead to a very depressed and socially awkward generation..
Thanks a lot Suckerberg

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Taking on the pump

Call me a conspiracy theorist but there is something very fishy about getting gas since it hit $4 again. We are not talking about the fact it seemed to race from $2.50 to $4 with almost no fanfare whereas two summers ago when gas frat hit $4 gallon it was the lead story every-night. I remember being in High School back in 1994 and getting has for $0.89/gallon and being floored the first time I paid over $1.25.
Then feeling like the apocalypse was near when it went over $2, expecting to see Jesus when it rose above $3 and meeting Ghandi when it topped $4.
Now it is all conditioning because when it dropped back down to $3 it looked like a bargain and now that is back upto $4 it doesn't raise an eyebrow
But I have figured out something which is conspiracy theory-ish
Whenever I pump gas it seems to take longer to fill up my tank, and I don't think this is something new. I think the gas stations purposely slow the rate of flow down when prices are higher so it subconsciously feels like you are getting more gas

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Taking on salt, pepper, ketchup?

I have eaten pigeon in Egypt, live shrimp in Japan, donkey meat in China, 'steak' in Korea, goose in France and some strange tofu concoction in Taiwan which tasted like raw sewage and I still think the most ridiculous think I have been offered is ketchup on an egg-and-cheese.
Why somebody would ruin what is probably God's greatest creation by adding processed tomato paste is beyond reason. See the New York egg and cheese on bagel is maybe the perfect food combination. The American cheese melts over the egg and then bonds into the bagel in a near chemical reaction which is so influential it would give nuclear fusion a run for it's money but when you add ketchup it is like giving the technology to the North Koreans. They won't know what to do with it and by them even touching it, it threatens the existence of the entire world -of bagels-

Friday, August 5, 2011

Take on the GPS highlighted route

I am a guy who believes in logic so when I am met with ineptitude on any level it frustrates me. A few weeks ago I get in my car en-route to Pennsylvania from Brooklyn, The directions are simple and have me take the BQE (eastbound) to the Verrazano Bridge, across the Goethals to to the NJ turnpike and then to some state highway into PA. I had not looked it up on a map but roughly knowing where I was going the route seemed reasonable. My issue was on the return route. I imputed my home-address and started following the directions but almost immediately I recognized that i was on a different road than I had come on. On the road back i crawled down some country road, merged onto bumper-to-bumper misery on Route 9 and finally cut through a town to finally to the Turnpike
How can a computer program whose only function -other than offering soothing reassurance- is to get from point A to point B give you two totally different sets of directions when going to a place and when returning from it? It was as if you are on some tour and all of a sudden the tour-guide takes you to some hole-in-the-wall restaurant which later is revealed to be his cousin's place.

This is where there seems to e a disconnect because there was no construction or detours on the obvious route yet my Garmin was more than happy to show me the sights of the worst of the Garden State with two screaming kids in the 100 degree heat.
Thanks for nothing

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Take on the National Fat League

The NY Times reported yesterday that the NFL is poised to become the first league in American Professional Sports to begin testing for HGH.   Now obviously with the apparent influx of HGH onto our sports, much like steroids ran rampant for years, the NFL and it's players association should be commended for doing something to actually try to curtail it.     As part of the grand bargain there would be some concessions the league would give up in terms of appeals and when and how tests could be administered but any direction to a cleaner league is probably a good one.

Also as part of the new collectively bargained agreement to bring the NFL back from its lockout, teams have made some major concessions when it came to practice time and full contact practices with teams being limited to 14 practices throughout the season with full-pads and all two-a-days being eliminated. 

Even players reacted to the elimination with skepticism with comments like this from Bart Scott

 "I get concerned you're making football players weaker because you don't push them past that threshold, I get concerned with the same thing with the quarterback stuff, that they turn it into flag football; they turn it into little pansy stuff.  Two-a-days, it's what football is all about," he said. "It's about endurance, pain, will, putting yourself through something when your body is telling you it doesn't want to go. Your mind controlling your body. That's what camp is all about. With one-a-days, guys might not be in as good of shape as they would have been. Camp tears you down, and then a smart coach starts pulling back in enough time that allows players' bodies to build back up."

You have to be kidding me.. first they eliminate two-a-days which many players and coaches credit with bringing a team together and then you are going to take them off their hormones.    This is ridiculous, we're going to be watching a bunch of ballerinas out there..  Get football back to football and let these guys juice and beat each other into oblivion..  I can see it already, before you know it they'll start introducing rules that won't allow you to touch the quarterback anymore…oh wait.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


So after much deliberation, we finally decided to splurge by spending $7.99 at to buy the domain name, which will save our loyal readership 1.5 seconds per day by not having to type out the .blogspot part of the original blogsite.    We tried to buy but that is apparantly so dork-site where geeks get together and talk about fantasy warlords, swords and make believe worlds.. now we like fantasy but we prefer it in the Jenna Jameson mold.
good new is that we have been assured that the connection time will remain pretty quick and from what I can tell you won't see any difference, you'll get the same crappy content, delivered at random times each day with plenty of typos, grammar mistakes to little fanfare or excitement but we promise to continue delivering it to you at some point every single day.    

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

taking on the refurbished electronic item

I love a deal but when the deal comes because the item is refurbished it basically means you are getting somebody else's piece of crap at a 50% discount but you are still getting a piece of crap.    

So after the entire IPhone on the beach scenario I finally made it to the Apple Store and was pleasantly surprised (way to go Steve Jobs!!!!)  when the technician who looked like he just rolled out of bed gave me the pleasant news that although they could charge me $200 for a replacement, they would give me a replacement one for free.    The problem, as I found out shortly afterwards, was that they gave me one of those refurbished puppies.     By the time I got home the phone had lost 40% of it's charge, by the time the nightly news started it was in the red-battery-zone and by the time I went to see if the debt thing had passed it was completely gone. 

This morning I was sucked through 44% of the battery on the 1 hour subway ride into the city whereas I used to be able to get almost two full days without charging even with frequent use including the IPhone, the browser and text messages.

Now beggars can't be choosers but a battery which doesn't even get me to lunch is ridiculous and it once again shows that getting a refurbished item is like getting nothing at all.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Taking on radio silence

Last week while on the TOR version of Cast Away, we went through some serious accessibility withdrawal but nothing could have quite prepared us for our cell phone going completely radio silent. First we got to this secluded island to find that the only way to get cell phone service was to climb to the top of the roof and stand on one leg with an arm stretched way out in the air like some beach-going version of the Statue of Liberty. They after taking out phone to the beach we got bombarded with some ‘this accessory is not optimized for this IPhone’ message which I was told was probably some kind of obstruction which on a beach full of sand is probably not far from the truth. I was able to get past that by blowing into the charging-dock hole as if I’m a kid in 1989 playing Legend of Zelda and then the worst happened. Apparently during my big-bad wolf impression, I either blew up a piece of bratwurst and logged it successfully into the charging dock or I moved whatever obstruction there was already just enough to avoid the ‘accessory not optimized’ message but also enough so that the charger now couldn’t properly connect.

So there I sit on an island in the middle of the Atlantic, miles from shore with no air-spray in sight and nothing but my toothbrush to try to do any technical brain-surgery. Five hours and some crazy carpal tunnel syndrome later, I had discovered where the obstruction was and was able to pinpoint the culprit as a piece of lint or paper.
It had logged into the IPhone so deep that getting there with my bear-paws just wasn’t going to be possible and nobody I was with cared enough to dedicate an evening to trying to fish it out so I was left completely miserable for the final 5 days of my vacation.

Fast forward to Saturday, we land back shore-site and without so much as bucking my seat-belt or closing the trunk, there goes my entire family held hostage as we race to the nearest AT&T store on a 100 degree day with my wife, sister-in-law and kid screaming in the car..

So I decided that from now on i'll keep my Iphone properly sealed to avoid this in the future

I think you'll agree that I handled this entire situation as well as could be expected.