Monday, October 31, 2011

Taking on the holiday calendar

I've said this a thousand times but on Halloween it bears repeating. I cannot think of one reason we should not celebrate this holiday on a weekend. I know there are some weird religious reasons to keep it on the 31st but like Mormonism and that weird Kabalah thing, can't we just ignore it?? There are a ton of holidays we do not celebrate on their actual proper day (MLK birthday, president's day), there are also a ton of holidays already set to fall on a specific weekend (Thanksgiving, Labor Day) and we aren't even consistent with ones with a religious basis (Christ's birth has an actual date while his resurrection is forty days after a Wednesday in April). Did they write one day down on the ancient calendar but not the other??
This IS supposed to be the ultimate kid's holiday yet 4 out of 7 years it will fall on a normal weekday (I am OK with Friday) which makes it inconvenient for parents, a distraction for schools and not all that great for kids. Celebrate it on the last Saturday in October which would allow for a full day of parties, trick or treating and fun. This would allow school to celebrate it on Friday prolonging the fun a bit and allow a kid to be in bed at a normal hour not going door to door for a sugar fix until 11pm on a school night.

If nothing else you're much more likely to get a bunch of hot chicks to slut out on a Saturday night when they can leave from home and party all night then some cold Monday when they have to be at work.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Take on the redzone blackout

Nothing seems as blatantly unfair as finally having a free Sunday to watch some NFL action and sitting down in front of your 42 incher and getting stuck with Giants v Dolphins. Not only are the Jets on a bye but because of tear archaic NFL rules against showing another game up against a home team but also because living in an area which is zoned for Time Warner there is no option for the RedZone.
The greatest invention in television next to the original transistor is not available to me because Time Warner cannot get off their high horse and give in like every other cable company (except Dolan's little baby) has done across the country. Do they negotiate?? No!!! Do they budge? No!!! Do they feel my pain?? No!! So I am stuck watching Matt Moore and Jason Taylor while I could be watching Cam Newton or Arian Foster


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Take on climate change

I know there is a segment of the population who believes climate change is a total hoax. Then again this are the same people who generally believe the earth is 5000 years old and Noah and his ark were a depiction of actual events. Well I can't tell you I have any proof other than what i see everyday and I know for sure that the weather we get up here in NYC is different than the weather we used to get when I was a kid. Long gone are the three months of fall we'd have with weeks on end in the 50's and 60's or a nice long spring with weather in the 70's and 80's. We go from a miserable summer with tons of rain to a cold wet fall followed by an endless winter and then we skip right over spring and go back to humid summer.
During the winter the news reported it had been the snowiest winter on record in this area. Well it was followed up by an incredibly wet spring and winter and now three days before Halloween we have 3 inches of snow again. This will go down as the year with the most precipitation and I don't think it'll be close

Friday, October 28, 2011

take on the donation thank you

A few weeks ago I got an email about some random charity for some kid who was going to ride his bike across the country for cancer or something.     Although I didn't know the kid real well, I thought it was a worthwhile cause and threw him a couple of bucks and then a few days later I got a thank you letter from the kid for my generous donation.    Problem I have is that it wasn't a personal thank you, it was a general form email which wasn't at all specific to me.     Honestly if you are going to ask for donations the least you can do is email each person back and tell thank 'em personally, it's not like this guy was running for POTUS and he was getting thousands of dollars per minute.     He had a goal of about  $500 which means that at $25 a piece, the most he'd have to write is 20 emails which considering it all is probably about an hour worth of work but likely not even on a single day because donations were probably rolling in through a few weeks.

I don't care what people say whenever anybody makes a donation or gives to a charity they are doing it in part for themselves.  There is just no such thing as a truly selfless gift.    It makes them look good in front of friends, coworkers or acquaintances, it gives them a tax write-off or it just makes them feel better about themselves.     Like the Curb episode with Ted Danson and the museum the anonymous donation always has a way to get leaked and become non-anonymous.     Now this doesn't mean we should get rid of donations, charities etc but just means that everybody should be honest about what they give and what is expected as return and the least I expect is a personal thank you

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Take on the corrector

While standing on the platform I run into this piece of graffiti, it would probably go down unnoticed except for the fact somebody came over and crossed out 'slut' and underneath it wrote 'pig'. Now I am not sure what the second 'artist' was hoping to accomplish here but it seems to me that if they were trying to make the victim feel any better by substituting one for another he probably wasn't exactly doing her a real favor

But it gets you to thinking maybe it was just somebody walking past this thing who thought 'well Jane is really awful person but I wouldn't classify her as one who sleeps around although she is kind of heavy and talks with her mouth full. I wouldn't want anybody to get the wrong impression of her so as my civic duty let me correct it'

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Taking on etiquette

Why does this only happened to me I have been feeling a bit under the weather and haven't been sleeping we so the bags under my eyes are a deeper shade of navy and my skin is a lighter pale than usual in other words I look like total crap. When a family friend passed away and i showed up at the funeral home, I looked like I should have been in the coffin.

The service is nice and they kept it light and the audience is taking it in when i get a tickle in my throat. I try desperately to swallow my cough as I can feel it turning into one of those violent spells which only forces me to start swelling up before I know it I'm wiping away tears. There I am probably the least important person in the room with tears in my eyes during a particularly light moment, sniffling from my cold and just looking like I haven't slept in a month and I hear somebody whisper
'he's taking this really hard'
Now I got people coming up to me after the service saying that they are sorry for my loss and I'm left to try to explain my way out of this which you just can't

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

take on the gym-membership model

yesterday I saw a blazing headline which read that Netflix lost 800,000 customers in the third quarter which was higher than analysts had predicted.   The dropoff was expected after Netflix tried to break their core-business into separate groups and then also raised rates to their customers..   This to me seemed like a recipe for disaster from the beginning.   If they had taken even a casual survey of their customers they would have realized that most people probably don't use the service very regularly and bringing a publicized price-increase during some pretty bad economic times was going to lead to an exodus.  
I've been thinking about it for the last 24 hours and although I originally compared this Netflix disaster to the inability for RIM to realize they were getting beat to the punch with their breadwinning product by Apple and Android they never adjusted and just hoped that their core customers would just not notice that everybody around them had cooler phones which had great cameras, fantastic browsers, thousands of apps and oh yeah by the way also had the ability to send and receive emails.
but the more I think of it, that was a technology failure, this was even dumber.. this was a failure to recognize that your customers base wasn't using your product to begin with but they kept paying for it anyway.  It's like getting a gym membership, you do it for the first few months pretty religiously and before you know it it's been two seasons since you last stepped foot in that  sweat hall, you've put back the 5 pounds you lost and added 10 more.   You know you are throwing $80 away per month but you still have a hope to go back to twice per week and feel like giving up the membership is like giving up on fitness overall...kind of like giving up on the chance to see all those classic movies you've always wanted to see but just never have time for.     Now if Jack LaLane jacked their rates up 30%, there would probably be hundred of thousands of people who would take notice and turn their over their membership cards because now they realize they'd be paying $40 more per month and still not getting any slimmer..
so if your business model is dependant on customers who pay for your service but don't actually use it... here's a piece of free advice from the Average Asshole.....let sleeping dogs lie

Monday, October 24, 2011

take on the links at the bottom of the website

I read the Daily News daily and am eagerly awaiting a good IPhone app so that I can download it and read it while out of cell-service like I can read the Economist, the NY Times or the Wall Street Journal.     I know the writing is not exactly Shakespearean  but then again neither is TOR..   Although I read the Times everyday, I supplement with the Daily News because they have much better sports-section, they have much better sense of the pulse is like in the city and because I'd appreciate some sleaze with my morning coffee.  

What I don't appreciate is that they don't actively some of their links on their website regularly.  Today as I'm reading about the Jets game, there is a link on the bottom of the article from '' which says 'Jets cut Maybin', which shocks me because he's played well but the problem is that when I click on this link it is from almost two months ago.. 

I had the same problem earlier when looking at an article about Jennifer Lopez breaking down on stage.. and there is a link about Demi Moore posing topless for Twitter…I click on that and it's that article of her taking a picture through the bathroom mirror from 2 months ago. 

Come on you're better than that

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Taking on the 'throw in $20'

Maybe I'm overly anal, maybe I am just better at math or maybe I realize how hard waiters work but it's shocking how difficult it is to do figure out a check including tax and tip in a large crowd. First of all nobody knows how many people to divide the total by so trying to get a headcount is nearly impossible as people are standing up or in the men's room so at some point somebody says '$20 each' because everybody wants an easy number but somehow it never works out which is weird because with a prefix it should not that complicated.
$14.95x0.0875x1.20->$19.50 so if theoretically everybody throws in $20 we should be well covered but as always somebody out of the 20 orders another drink, substitutes egg-whites or gets a latte instead of a normal coffee and now it comes out to $20.62 a person and nobody has any singles
So although I hate people who will analyze the bill and go dutch my new rule is if you have a prefix and you get something different you are on the hook for a 50% premium if only for convenience.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Take on the yellow truck

In an apparent act of retribution to the difficulty Chinese nationalists have to visit the US, the Chinese consulate has taken their 2 page rubber stamp application for visa into this 6 page interrogation. This application asks you to list every trip you've made to China, every international trip to other countries you have made in a 12 month spam and detailed information about your family
So after 2 hours of racking my brain, I walk over to the consulate and stand in line with a thousand other people, when I finally get to the front of the line I am told that they no longer take handwritten applications and I would need to type it out
Now I am standing at 12th avenue and 42nd street a good 15 minute walk back to my midtown office. Nowhere on the application was this clearly noted as proven by the fact there were 15 others who got turned away before me.
Anyway I am told by a security guard that here is a yellow van around the corner who will type up the application for me. After waiting on an informal line on 43rd street, negotiating for a couple of seconds and paying $20 i was finally sitting down in a makeshift office in the back of a Penske truck on a folding chair as some dude entered my info into his MacBook and printed it out on a little printer powered by a small generator

Nothing gets you ready for China quiet like getting ready for China
Sent from my iPhone

Friday, October 21, 2011

Take on Duane Reade

I'm all for the new look and feel of Duane Reade and compared to RiteAid and CVS it is a pleasure to shop there with its clean and well lit aisles. The problem is that along with ots facelift it has gotten incredibly expensive. I walk in today ad they are selling generic New York filtered water for $1.39. I went to get a lightbulb and they were charging $14. Now granted it was a speciality lightbulb but I paid $12 for a half-a-dozen of the same exact ones at Home Depot. Toothpaste is $5, Suave is $3 and those Starbucks drinks are almost $4 Now I understand that Duane Reade has a certain convenience but to pay a 500% premium seems a bit ridiculous.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

take on the black-hole over the hudson (the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge)

I love everything google..  I love the fact I bought GOOG shares at $400 and they are now worth $580..  I love Gmail, I love YouTube, I love the predictive search thing even if it's kind of Big Brother-esque and I love GoogleMaps.    That is until I tried to map out a route from Kingston NY to Rhinebeck NY which are located across the Hudson River from one another and by the flight of an Eagle are about 5 miles apart. But when I went to Google-map directions from one to another I was told that the route would be 150 miles forcing me to drive all the way south to cross a bridge in Poughkeepsie.   The problem is that there is a bridge which spans the Hudson River about 2 miles north of my two locations called the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge but for some reason google-maps won't let you cross it.    Even when you try to drag the route over the bridge it just won't budge and actually re-routes you to some other bridge 100 miles north

I look online to make sure it's a car-bridge (it is), make sure it isn't closed for some reason (it isn't), call a friend who knows people in that area to confirm its open (it is) but for some-reason Google Maps just won't allow you to cross it… it's like we've finally identified a real-live black-hole.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

take on stupidity

When we sold our apartment a few months ago and moved to a rental property, I knew there would be a lot of pain in the ass moments and one of the things I dreaded most was having to move all my mail and bills to the new address.  I got most of the things moved but had the most issue with my insurance company, I got a call today saying that my account was two months past due which was weird as I didn't recall getting a bill in the mail.   When I asked her to look at my account she confirmed the address they were covering but then when I asked where they were sending the bills she read off my old address. 

I guess I take things for granted but when I say to somebody.   'I have sold my house at  xxxxx and moved to to xxxx so wanted to update my insurance policy" they would take this information and update my entire account including the billing address.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Take on CNN's time machine

Sometimes you wonder what year CNN think it is.     Maybe it’s the fact they gave Larry King him 10 years after it was apparent it was a Weekend at Bernie’s situation, maybe it’s the fact that in 2011 they still have no identity or maybe it’s the fact that when they discuss current events they pull crap like this.    In an article on about cell-phone companies being forced to warn customers when they are about to go over their monthly usage allotment they add a picture of a hand using a smart phone.   Now obviously the smart-phone has become the defacto handset for wireless customers but the phone they picture is a TREO, this is like having an article about current top 40 stars and showing a picture of Debbie Gibson.    For those who do not remember the Treo, this thing was an absolute brick.  It must have weighed 40 pounds, had a browser which I think still worked on the netscape technology and had this stumpy antenna that would always poke you right in the penis when you stuck it in your work-pant pocket.    Just thinking about that thing makes me want blast Hit Me Baby One More Time

Monday, October 17, 2011

take on the semi-stalker

Last week I ran into a guy I went to High-School with at some random event we were both at.   After a couple of minutes of small talk he said 'yeah I see your stuff on Facebook, pretty funny'  

The only thing funny about this is the fact that

-          I de-friended this dude about 18 months ago

-          I haven't posted anything to facebook in about a year


Now I don't think he was actively lying because I'm sure he really doesn't give a crap and this is just the new version of elevator small- talk, instead of the some lame conversation about the weather you say something random about seeing something funny on facebook almost out of obligation and you can both go on your way after 5 minutes.  
But it does get me to a greater reason why you don't want these guys in your virtual life.   The reason I'm glad he didn't say anything specific is that although I have nothing against this dude, if he did know something about me it would have meant that he was stalking through my profile since I don't actively post anything.   I defriended him because I don't need him knowing where I live, what I do or what my family looks like and I wouldn't blame him if he felt the same way.    I actually think it would be more awkward if a guy who I haven't seen in a decade would have come up to me and said 'can't believe your daughter just turned two, you celebrated your five year wedding anniversary a few months ago, your training for a half-marathon and your mother is going back to school."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

take on the carnival rides

So I spent the day at some New England county fair stuffing my fat face with fried dough, spending $10 to try to win some shitty beanbag doll and being serenaded by some U2 cover-band while watching the fall foliage surrounded by people who look like they are in permanent fall mode.   Fun for all until I got the courage to go up on the ferris wheel which looked like it hadn't been updated since the 60's.    I swear there were bolts hanging out, rotten screws and the guy running the thing had less teeth than customers.   I have never been so scared in my life as with every slight movement, it felt you were bringing the entire thing down to its final demise.
Forget rebuilding our infrastructure we need to rebuild our carnivals

sent from my iPhone

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Take on the fancy running shoe

There is nothing more important to a distance runner than a good pair of shoes. You need a pair which gives your support, comfort and cushioning as you pound through mile after mile on hard terrain. When I started running, I'd go out in a pair of cross trainers figuring if they were good enough for Bo Jackson, they'd easily work for me but after a few months I'd have problems walking up a stairs because my hip always felt like somebody was stabbing it from the inside.
I checked online and found most recommendations were fairly simple, a good pair of true running shoes should help with most of the pain and I was off to a runners store and my stride was evaluated and determined I needed a form of stability shoe to compensate for an ankle which would land awkwardly. I ran my first marathon on a pair of asics which were some of the most comfortable shoes I'd ever had but was miffed when a few months later that pair had been discontinued in favor or a new model using the newest gel technology.
I put on this pair of sneakers and immediately felt like I was running in Herman Munster's shoes but the saleswoman told me that it would take a few runs to break them in and that this was the same model as I came in with. I looked at both pairs and kept asking if she was sure cause they looked different and this new model felt like I was standing in concrete shoes What I found out over the next few months was my initial fear was confirmed that this gel technology for stability shoes basically meant your feet are held in a vice grip with no room to wiggle. I went from shoe to shoe and struggled for five years with cramping to the point I would walk a few strides nevery mike to allow blood to come back to my feet but every time I walked into a running store I was assured that I was running on the right shoe...which happened to coincidentally be a $130 pair
That is until I bought a pair of sneakers last month without the vaunted gel technology at a 30% cheaper price point and for the first time in 5 years I could feel blood reaching my toes again

Friday, October 14, 2011

Take on the Porta Bed

While travelling through Europe I came across these pod-hotels in one of the airports in Germany..   They're set up all around the airport and like one of those massage chairs allows you to use them for a set amount of time to help kill a few hours in the airport. 

My first thought is that this is fairly interesting, mostly because I have had long layovers and having a real bed to lay on, versus trying to prop myself up in the lounge has never been all that comfortable.  The problem I have is that there is just no way to know how clean these things are.    They look like they came directly out of Amsterdam's red-light district and there weren't any cleaning crews visible.    I know that a few years ago there were these porta-johns that were stationed around the city which were supposedly self-cleaning  which I always saw as being as effective as a self-cleaning oven..  I know that there is no way to know if a hotel-room is truly clean but at least they are typically big enough to help evaporate some of the liquids people leave behind.. this thing is like the size of the tin-can from the Apollo missions…with about as much fresh air


Thursday, October 13, 2011

take on large purple friend

I think you might be doing it wrong.

Some woman in California is suing the company who made her vibrator after she complained of vaginal pain and bleeding.   In a suit brought to court she said she was rushed to the hospital and needed a few pints of blood after a little foreplay went awry.      I cannot imagine that any piece of plastic and rubber will ever take a place of a real person but I know there are couples who frequently engage in this and my guess is that this chick got herself a big black long-dong-kong to compensate for her boyfriend's tiny wrong-zong-schlong and she wasn't quite used to the size which lead directly to the pain and bleeding..   Apparently you can't shove a 12 incher in without a little preparation or otherwise you might just be doing it wrong..  

So I suggest that these chicks needing a little extra help first try stretching a bit or making sure there isn't any other blockage down there.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

take on the ball drop

I remember standing in Times Square when I was on December 31st 1999 with the world in front of me.   I was a 23 year old kid with no responsibilities, mortgage or real worries and stood there on the 49th and Broadway the only issue with standing there was that my buddies and I brought a few cases of beer and the cops wouldn't let you out of the area after you got in there so three hours into the festivities we were finding ourselves needing to relieve ourselves in the discarded bottles.

Like I said, except for this minor bladder inconvenience the world stood in front of us and there was nothing that could bother us as we counted down the seconds for the ball to drop.   Little did I know that evening back in 1999 would be a precursor to the rest of my life.. 

I swear that there are at least 3 nights per week where I get up in the middle of the night to take a leak..  I used to be able to drive to Boston and back chugging 40 ounces of coffee and hold it in the entire ride.   But getting up a couple of times at night isn't such a problem; it's the fact that like the anticipation of that New Years eve, I have found that my balls have dropped.   Now as many of the regular TOR readers are well aware of, my sacks has always hung low, but nobody could have prepared me for the fact that I now feel like I'm carrying a bowling ball between my legs.   If I'm not wearing boxer briefs or a fairly tight pair of pants, they are clacking between my legs like one of those desk-top pendulum things

I was at a wedding a few weeks ago in a full Indian kurta pyjama dress and at one point when I got low-low-low I swear my sack scraped the floor.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Take on the peanut bag

In 100 years of aviation history, I am wondering why we still have not figured out how to offer passengers a snack which can be consumed without needing a knife which funny enough you can't bring on board. What the hell are these bags made out of, some complex low weight ceramic used in the production of the dreamliner, was this the trial run to make sure it can keep up to the stresses of 4 g's.

So here I sit for an 8 hour flight starving staring at this bag which sits there staring back at me laughing as I contemplate eating my own hand

Monday, October 10, 2011

Take on 70%

Only in Europe do you feel like you only get a small part of what you earn. Today while sitting at a fine European establishment and the find European waitress delivers a fine European beer I was miffed when apparently 30% of my beer was pegged for people who sit on their asses while the rest of us work
Tell me why a 16 ounce glass is chosen when you only have a 12 ounce bottle. Nobody seems to care about 'how it looks' because there is no way that an American company puts their name on a glass when their own bottle won't fill its own glass
I guess this is socialism in action

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Take on inflight duty free

Maybe it is just a cruel trick or maybe it's just bad luck but it seems to me that the second I close my eyes and fall asleep on a long international flight I get startled awake by some pointless commercial for duty free items. I swear that considering I have flown over 500,000 miles on my lifetime, I have never seen anybody actually buy a bottle of perfume or a watch while sitting in their seat 10,000 feet above the ocean. Now that os not yo say that people don't buy duty free items as I have seen plenty of cases of Marlboro's and liters of Johnny Walker bought in airport shops but I have never seen that transaction happened in the air
So I can only conclude that this message is used to force you awake as a cruel joke because i cannot imagine why anybody feels the need to announce something that nobody will actually buy

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Take on the rental car deposit

After going 7+ innings an throwing 121 pitches, the manager has pulled the starter after yet another disappointing start and gone to the bullpen and summoned the big right righty.   He's carrying a 4.56 ERA, a 2.23 WHIP and a 2.1 walk to strike out ratio along with his sizable waistline but he still instilled fear in women, children and Tim Yen

I know you travel a lot and probably have some thoughts about rental cars, but here's my impression....
 So my car was delivered to me with a dent and the dealership said they would have to fix it for me on their dime.  They got me a rental car from Enterprise and that's when it all went downhill.  The woman from Enterprise met me at the dealership where I dropped my car off.  I have a nice, new Chevy Cruze which gets good mileage and even though I have only one step up from the base model it has certain creature comforts(bluetooth, radio controls on the steering wheel, XM radio, USB input).  Enterprise gives me a Jeep Compass which probably has a sticker at least 10,000 more than mine.   It had no steering wheel controls, no XM, no input at all, and a radio that seemed older than my Jeep Wrangler which I bought nearly 10 years ago.  It was dirty on the outside and the inside had a faint smell of smoke despite the no smoking sticker.  I feel bad for anyone who was suckered into buying one of these pieces of crap and it has soured me on the whole brand.  I am Mr. Buy American, but Ford and GM have made really good strides recently in design and Jeep is the same old crap.  Back to the Enterprise experience.  The woman tells me she needs a copy of my driver's license and a credit card which they are going to put a 250 dollar hold on.  I asked her why they need a deposit when the dealership was paying the rental?  She immediately said, It's OK I will only make it for 50 dollars.  Again, I asked why a deposit at all since payment was guaranteed by a dealership who uses their business on a very frequent basis.  She said, it's to ensure that I don't take off with their "Thirty Thousand Dollar Vehicle."  First of all anyone that pays 30 grand for this piece of shit is a moron.  Second of all, If I were the type to steal a car, I just bought this car for 50 bucks.  I think the threat of being arrested and put in jail and raped repeatedly is security deposit enough for most of us.  What they don't tell you is that they take this money and it sits in their account earning interest for the company.  They eventually return the money to you, but keep the interest.  A true security deposit on a rental should be kept in a separate account and returned to you with interest.  Multiply my 50 bucks with all the rentals Enterprise does worldwide and what a scam.  Finally she tells me the gas tank is 1/4 full and I would have to return it to them 1/4 full.  Fair enough on the surface, but when you think about it, I have to gas up almost immediately and it's not easy to fill a tank to exactly 1/4.  Almost everyone is going to put in more than 1/4 and return it to Enterprise with more than 1/4 tank.  It's virtually impossible to do that.  If they gave me the tank full it's easy to fill up.  Now I return it with 1/2 a tank and they get a 1/4 tank free that they didn't pay for an don't reimburse me for.  They will pass that car on to the next rental and that person will no doubt be scammed again.  Overall I rent a care about an average of once every three years, but I would never recommend Enterprise to anyone.  Just an awful experience and a very slimy company.  

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, October 7, 2011

Take on the TSA lines

I fly almost 100,000 miles per year so feel like i spend way too many hours of my life either up in the air or waiting at the airport in anticipation of going up. For anybody who does this as often a I do there are a number of tricks to keep you sane including good restaurants at certain airports, online iPhone check-in and the ability to find the shortest security lines all by making grand judgements about other people on the line based on their nationalities, body types and general appearance.
George Clooney's character touched on this in Up In the Air and there is really an art form to it.
The rules I have
-never get behind a family with small kids. Kids travel with bottles and metal toys and parents are overwhelmed already. It takes a family of 4 as long to get through as it does 10 businessmen. They will spend 20 minutes just trying to get their stroller onto that conveyer belt

-never get behind old people. These guys have more metal in their bodies than robocop.

- never get behind any person with any kind of brown skin tone. Middle Eastern, Indian, Northern Africa I don't care.They will find reason after reason to scan that poor guy's bag 10 times. If they are wearing a robe or turban forget it you might as well start looking for a later flight

- never get behind a hot chick. They will spend 5 minutes pulling shit out of their bag hoping to help out their bag. Chicks carry around more lotions than a Korean whorehouse and there is just noway then can possible get all that crap in one of those four ounce ziplock bags

- never get behind a skittish looking white chick. These chicks follow all the rules and will literally ask those TSA guys for directions to make sure they are doing it right. It's like sitting behind a teacher's pet

Thursday, October 6, 2011

take on the unsubscribe button

Taking on 'Unsubscribe'
Last week I bought something on RedEnvelope and since my modest purchase I have gotten completely bombarded with emails from them.    I swear I have gotten 10 emails in 5 days advertising special presents for anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas (it's October 6th by the way)..   So after almost of week of this, I decide to take action and click on the small 'unsubscribe' button on the bottom of the email and this is when the fun starts.   I'm basically asked to run through an obstacle course of crap with questions to which of the many other related news-letters I want to adjust the frequency of receipt on as well including ProFlowers, ProPlants, ProPain, Personal Creations and a bunch of other ones. 
First of all the default on all of these things is 'yes please send me a copy of this great informative newsletter' so just clicking on these email preferences links means you actually have to pay attention.   When I'm finally through the entire concept including warnings that I would now not be receiving the special offers and discounts they email out..   The entire unsubscribe process feels like trying to cancel a gym membership at Jack LaLane I get asked a final question.    What is the reason you want to unsubscribe with reasons like
-          I get too many email from RedEnvelope
-     I get too many emails in general
-          I'm disappointed in the offerings in the emails
-          I am not interested in buying anything at this point
-          I don't feel the emails are geared towards my needs
-          Etc etc.

If there was ever a need for 'YES ALL OF THE ABOVE' this is it

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Take on the IPhone 4S

A few years ago whenever Steve Jobs would get into his jeans and sit on that stage to announce the latest IPHONE, the tech world would stop…this month which marked the first time that Jobs hasn't been the head of the company and wasn't on stage to announce this version.  Immediately the interwebs were going crazy saying that Apple hadn't come up with anything innovative for the IPhone 4s and was in danger of losing its cache in part because it has lost its gigantic lead to the Droid phones.  Mostly people were pissed off because Apple didn't go all the way and introduce an IPhone 5 but instead went with the tweaked IPhone 4s

Now I will say this about the IPhone, it is the best piece of technology I've ever owned.. there are articles written by psychologists which suggest there is a true 'love' between man and machine when it comes specifically to the IPhone and I've yet the to meet the person who went from an IPhone to a Droid and didn't have buyers regret.    Yeah maybe the IOS platform is losing ground in terms of sales to the Android one but there is still something to be said for the functionality, the look and form factor and the feel of an IPhone.    

The second question is..who the hell owns all these Androids?   I easily know 50 people who have IPhones and know exactly 1 who has an Android and she'll tell you it has the functionality of a brick (and is about the size of one).

So until I see people actually giving up their IPhones, I don't think Apple should be too worried

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

take on Twin Peaks

With all these tech companies buying each other out for their patent portfolios it was only a matter of time before this entire concept hit a bit closer to home.    A lawsuit was filed in US District court earlier this week brought by the Hooters corporation against an entity called Twin Peaks for what it says are stolen trade secrets.   Now I want to make perfectly clear that we at TOR have nothing against the delightful tackiness of Hooters and although we have never frequented Twin Peaks we would go there with complete open eyes.  

I don't know anything about this case but even knowing nothing I have to agree with the Randy DeWitt, the former Hooters exec turned Twin Peaks CEO who called the lawsuit frivolous and baseless..   I'm not saying that this guy didn't possibly steal the secret sauce, copied the string with the orders on it or stole 1000000 rolls of paper-towels  but anybody who has ever been to Hooters knows it's not the wings we're coming back for and if Hooters can claim a trademark on hooters than we might as well all become Chinese.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Take on the lack of flexibility

I walk into the local Starbucks today and order a medium vanilla chai latte (not for myself) and when I get the receipt I'm flabbergasted Not just because this concoction comes in at the price of a 12" meatball sub at Subway, not because it's got about the same calories as that 12" sub but because the total comes out to $5.01.
This is where these chain restaurants have it all wrong, by not having the ability to lower the price of an item slightly so that I don't have to dig around for a penny. I'm sure that id they did they could make it up at another spot -like charging an extra $0.02 for soy milk or something- but the fact that I had to break a dollar today to come up with the one penny is ludicrous

Sunday, October 2, 2011

taking on the reverse dead-beat

I know we may be harping on this a bit but it really needs to be said... when a friend lends a friend money there is an unsaid bond that happens between the friends
on is that the debt will be repayed quickly, without hassle and without fuss.   The other is that when the debt is repaid it will be never be done in a place like a casino, horse-track or strip-club.  The only thing possibly worse than a dead-beat friend is one who is in a haste to repay you even when the situation doesn't lend itself to it
last week we hit one of NYC finest gentleman's club's establishments for the celebration of the last day of bachelor(ette) hood for a good friend.     We spent 3 hours getting hammered at a Mexican place and some terrible bar before we embarked upon the night's true festivities.    As we stand outside, one of my friends has some difficulty with his ATM card, he calls the customer service chick and apparently there was some glitch in the system because his account is set up in another state.  Obviously this is idiotic as this is exactly the purpose of an ATM system but at midnight on a Saturday there is almost nothing that can be done.    So I step in as the superhero friend (or the one who was sick of waiting) and take out a couple of hundred bucks and drop it in my buddy's lap with the instructions 'give it back to me next week'   
fast forward 3 hours and 2 shots and 4 gin-and-tonics later, he stumbled up to me and gives me $200 and says thanks for helping him out but he was able to figure his ATM thing out.  
well thanks AHOLE..  you now gave me $200 more than I had originally allotted myself and at a place like FD's you cannot be expected to show any restraint.  
So when I wake up the next morning and find $54 in my pocket, I'm actually quite pleased....not until two days later do I realize that this still meant I spent $143 more than I originally set out to

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Take on the Amazon review

I buy almost everything online from groceries, to diapers, to clothes and presents.   It's mainly because of convenience with the amount we all work and travel, there just isn't any time to do everything else so you have to take some short-cuts and with free shipping with Amazon Prime it almost always makes sense financially too.   The conveniences are great, the prices are very competitive and with the ability to price compare you know you are generally getting a pretty good deal.   Of course buying a pair of pants is risky, buying art work is a total shot in the dark and buying produce from FreshDirect is like throwing money down the toilet but there are plenty of things that can very adequately be purchased online.    We do also realize that shopping online has another drawback in that it hurts local businesses so we make sure we still do some shopping locally but long gone are the days of spending 10 hours in some Long Island shopping mall with a gun pointed directly at my groin. 
the other issue with online shopping is obviously that you can't actually see the merchandise, so very often you are going on blind faith unless you put a lot of trust in those online reviews.    My issue has always been that reviews tend to skew to the negative.  I can say getting raging mad if the shirt you bought came with a huge stain but who the hell is going to go back to the website to put a glowing review of a pair of socks they just bought.  Amazon's response has been in their attempt to get a truer cross-section of their customers by bombarding their customers with these surveys of every purchase.   I alone must get 5 requests per week to review some random item I bought.
The issue is that in most cases, there just isn't much to say.  They ask you to rate how satisfied you are from 1-5, how likely you are to buying again, how likely you would be to recommend said product to a friend, how likely you are to buy from this vendor
This week along I got asked to review a pack of $1.99 party streamers.   How the hell do you review something like this.   I paid $2 for streamers which did exactly what they were supposed to do....they decorated my living room.  They were not higher or lower quality streamers than other ones I have bought before, buying them would not specifically steer me towards this vendor but I certainly wouldn't  review the transaction negatively.   I feel like some transactions, like buying the Daily News from the deli up the street are just that.. a transaction.   The service is nothing spectacular but I don't need it to be.   
So I go to write my review which says something like 'i was satisfied with the $2 streamers they were very festive'  and am about to give it 3 stars for satisfactory... but now i am in a dilemma as I know these vendors really need 5 stars to help their business.    The issue is I don't give out five stars very easily because if I give one for the streamers what do I give for great service or an exceptional deal or a vendor who goes out of their way to make sure I'm satisfied? 

So although I was perfectly content with my purchase but if you are going to quiz me on them then I will say that  they were not particularly festive as the yellow was a bit faint and i'd probably prefer some with some higher tensile strength but then again for $2 what the hell can I expect