Saturday, August 1, 2009

Worst. Service. EVER.

Last night we went to a local restaurant for some dinner to celebrate my wife's birthday. We had some drinks, laughs, and some great food, but our server really sucked. We called in a reservation and were seated immediately upon arriving, and our drink orders were taken promptly. We ordered some appetizers and that's about when he apparently checked out. Besides waiting forever to take our actual entree order and never getting our waters refilled (which is a huge pet peeve of mine), we had to wait about 25 minutes to pay our bill (which was incorrect and had to be adjusted). At a point it almost became comical until we realized we missed the showtime for just about every movie playing nearby. As bad as that was, it reminded me of a recent experience that, to this day takes the cake on bad service.

On our way up to Yosemite to hike Half Dome, we decided to stop and grab some calorie infused breakfast at McDonalds in Oakhurst. We arrived there a few minutes before they opened and patiently waited in the car. After about 15 minutes a gentleman employed by the restaurant approached the door (after finishing his cigarette) and proceeded to bang on it until the person who was 15 feet away came to the door and unlocked it for him. I say "him", because even though it was now 5 minutes past opening time, we continued to wait. 10 minutes later the doors open and we get in. My friend was feeling like a burger and asked if they were serving lunch, the "jovial" doorbanger replied with a monotone "it's morning... we serve breakfast in the morning" while, without looking back extended his index finger toward the wall behind him. My friend pointed back in the same direction at the menus on the wall explaining that the lunch selections were up. My friend then began to give his breakfast choice, and mid-sentence the guy walks away and starts changing the sign to the "appropriate" meal. At this point we would have just left, but seeing as we had eight to nine hours of hiking ahead of us, knew we had to eat something and this was the last place on the way. After the grueling process of the three of us ordering we had to wait an additional ten minutes for our "fast food" all the while hearing about parties the employees attended, guys/girls they wanted to hook up with, and how much they all hated their jobs (comforting? no.).
After getting our food (and checking for spit), we noticed a sign posted by the soda fountain that made us laugh. It read:

Time limit 20 minutes
while consuming food

Here's an idea: SERVE the food in under 20 minutes and we'll get out of there lickity split! Honestly... a time limit? Aaaaaaaand... this is another reason why I try to avoid McDonalds.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Finally made it to the top!

A couple of weeks ago myself and two friends took to the mountain and hiked half dome in Yosemite. It's something I've wanted to do for a little while, but had heard from several people that it's a tough trip and was a little worried about being able to make it. So to prepare, I skipped dinner the night before and got a full 3 hours of sleep (insert sarcastic tone here). People weren't lying, it is quite a hike 18 miles round trip, 4000 foot vertical, and the infamous cables up the side of the dome at the end. Once at the top, the amazing view of Yosemite Valley was all at once trumped by the realization we had to go back down the cables and hike another four hours in the hundred degree heat. The whole way we were huffing, puffing, and grumbling; but in the end (and after a full days rest) we looked back and really felt like we accomplished something (although we all pretty much agreed never to do it again).

Bonus: This is what I saw when I took my shoes off after the hike, LOL.

How to make someone appreciate a desk job

I really don't like it when people complain about the weather.
It's just something that:

  1. Everyone you're talking to is experiencing as well
  2. There's nothing you can do about it
That being said, it's been a little slow work wise this week. And because of that, I got the opportunity to go out in the field instead of being stuck at my desk all day.

Monday morning around 8:30 I was asked to visit a site in Selma and take some photos for a project we're working on. I spent about two hours walking up and down the streets taking some photos and then on the way back grabbed an iced drink from Starbucks. It was quite nice and made the day fly by when I got back. So yesterday, when I was asked to go out to another site to take some measurements, I was more than willing to go. I jumped in the work truck and started to drive and it was at that point I started to doubt the "fun" of this trip. I looked at the rear view mirror and saw this:

Yeah... having even your eyeballs sweat kinda puts a damper on the novelty of being out in the field. Needless to say, it was nice to get back to the office that day.

I sold my soul to Gamestop

Times being what they are right now and with a load of fun things quickly coming up on the horizon; I decided to make some quick cash by trading in some old Gamecube games that have sat in my closet untouched for a couple of years now. I packed up my stuff in what turned out to be a unwieldy stack of Jenga pieces and headed over to Gamestop.

I decided to go a little out of my way in order to go to a less busy store with close parking. I got out of my car, grabbed the stack of games (which only fell over 18 times on the way there) and headed for the door. As I approached the store I could see one of the store employees shaking his head (that's never a good sign). I pulled an amazing elbow-to-foot door maneuver and got in, only to be told that they closed in 8 minutes and they couldn't help me. They directed me to the store down the road which was open for another hour and I reluctantly grabbed my stack and headed over there.

Upon arriving, I was greeted with the lack of parking I was expecting and had to trudge across the parking lot trying not to leave a breadcrumb trail of games as I walked to the store. After finally getting in and setting everything down, the transaction began... 25 minutes later and several "I can't believe you're selling these" comments from the clerk, we finally finished. All in all I sold 40 games and pocketed $95. As if that wasn't heartbreaking enough, due to a special Gamestop was having I could get an additional 40% value if I took store credit instead of cash. It came out to about $165. That's a $70 loss. Oh well and extra $100 in the pocket never hurt anyone. :)

Also, I've received the world's longest receipt. The Guinness guys are supposed to be calling me back anytime now... :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh, how quickly we forget

I don't know if anyone remembers 17 years ago when the Vice President of the United States of America "corrected" a kid in New Jersey for misspelling potato (he said it was potatoe). This crap made international news. Everyone talked about it in the days following and to this day it's one of the few things I remember about that administration (I was in first grade when Bush Sr. was sworn in) <- don't judge :). I swung by a sandwich shop at lunch today to grab a quick... lunch, and came across the following sign:

I was so distracted by it that I started at the wrong end of the line (i.e. the paying side not the ordering side). I was quickly admonished by the cashier for breaking protocol and shooed to the correct side. This meant passing the sign a few more times. I walked to the ordering counter and fighting the urge to snap a photo. I placed my order and returned to the paying counter, causing me to pass the sign again. This was too much for my willpower to fend off. I tried to slyly take a picture using the old look at the menu mounted on the back wall and take the picture without looking; this resulted in a blurry white band draping across my phone screen. I glimpsed out of the corner of my eye and noticed the cashier totally saw me, and she did not look happy. But I still needed the photo, they misspelled the word not once, but multiple times and didn't even try to hide it (I see Patoto, Pototo, Patato, and finally Potatoe). So I took a second photo. I framed the shot, focused, and shot. Cashier, not happy. She gave me the dirtiest looks I've seen in a long time. Had I already had my food paid for and in my possession, I would have taken a picture of her too, but it wasn't so.

deserves recognition! Either frown upon the lack of spell checking for a business sign or celebrate the brazen disregard for the social norm of "correctness". But either way you've got to give them credit. I am a little curious to go back tomorrow and see if it's still there.

PS: I did not take pleasure in pissing the cashier off, nor did I take the photo to piss her off. I am not the muckraker you may think, but it was a funny enough story to update my month long blog drought. :) I'm baaaaaaack!

/double double checking he didn't misspell any words on this post

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Quality Control took Valentine's Day off

Every year as Valentine's day approaches and in the weeks following I become addicted to Sweethearts. There really is no explanation for it, the texture equivalent of chewing chalk.

One thing I noticed this year, during the consumptions of pounds of these talkative little treats was, Necco's quality control department must have taken the holiday off. I could only read the message on about one of every four hearts out of the box. Some of the "ink" was way off center, others were pock marked, some completely blank, and others were cracked in half.

Below is a sampling of a single box (they all looked like this), I didn't pick the bad ones out, I just poured them out and flipped them over:

But seeing as this is about the only time of year these things are relevant, I can understand why half-assing them might be acceptable, oh wait, no... I can't.

Netflix/Latitude/Recite [Tech Tuesday (Really late)]

Here comes another onslaught of Windows Mobile applications I've found rather interesting in the past few weeks.

First is the Mobile Manager for Netflix released on the Windows Mobile Access page (thanks @windowsmobile) . Its a small application that connects you directly to your Netflix account. The application gives you the ability to view your queues (both DVD and instant) as well as add movies to either. Another nice feature is the ability to view trailers for most movies from your search results without having to go through your phone's browser.

Registration is required for download, but as always your Windows LIVE ID is will be your ticket (same ID as Windows Live, Hotmail, Xbox LIVE, etc).

Microsoft Recite
Next up is Microsoft Recite. Currently billed as a "technology preview" its still a bit of a bare boned application. You basically record a reminder message such as "Get eggs, milk, and bacon at the grocery store." Then when you want to search your recordings you simply speak what your looking for like, "grocery store" and the program will search your notes and play back the most relevant message. I tried it a couple times making a few dummy "reminders" and then searching them and it worked flawlessly (that is, until I tried to actually show people how it works). It's a pretty cool application (when it works), and up until this point I've been taking pictures of things I need to remember (serial numbers, registration codes, etc), so this might be a more convenient way to go.

@WMExperts has put together a great article going a little more in depth about the application.

Google Maps Mobile 3.0 with Latitude
Google released an update to their Google Maps Mobile application that now includes Latitude functionality. Latitude basically allows you to quickly see where your friends are (via GPS or cell tower triangulation) and their current Google status (same as Google Talk). It also allows you to quickly IM, call, or search around thier location by clicking their location pin.

Location sharing is controlled via "sharing requests" which are similar to Myspace or Facebook friend requests. You can either accept or deny the request and when accepted you have the option to share your "best location" (usually within 30 meters of your actual location if using GPS), "city level location", or you can hide your location from them (i.e., stalk them :) ). One of the nicest features is you can control your sharing level per friend, so if are sharing with close friends you can share your exact location and share only city level location with acquaintances. You also have the ability to shut off location sharing at anytime (it doesn't always have to run).

It's fun seeing what your friends are doing, but the downside is if you leave the program running it tends to drain your battery. Still, even if you don't use the Latitude functionality, the Google Maps Mobile applications other features definitely make it a must have!