Flashback: Technology of 2003

As seems to be a tradition with just about every American, we took this day after Thanksgiving to drag all of our exterior Christmas decorations and put them up. It didn’t take much for the lights except for finding their proprietary plug since I never took them down last year. I have, however, promised Ann that this will be the year that I do take them down. She doesn’t want us to get some kind of strange reputation around here.

Part of the fun of decorating is digging in the garage and finding all sorts of stuff you had forgotten about. Take, for example, my ID from when I worked at Knott’s Berry Farm:

Click to Embiggen

Holy shit, I was 20 at the time. Holy holy shit, where has the time gone? And who the Hell puts your SSN number on anything these days? Gotta remember, too, that those were all the days when retailers could ask for driver’s license and credit card numbers when taking personal checks. My, how times change…

But as I dug further, I came across an old OfficeMax ad from 2003. It wasn’t exactly just lying around; it was being used to protect a saw blade from anything that could…potentially damage a saw blade, I guess. While the bulk of the ad was rather unremarkable in that the products and prices hadn’t really changed to much (like toner for laser printers and reams of paper), there were a few things that stood out.

Like the Palm Tungsten with 16MB of memory or the archaic and camera-less cell phones with plans from Sprint that included 2000 Anytime Minutes (and not a word about texting) for $100/month.

But I scanned a few of the more memorable items because when I saw them, my eyes just about bugged out. Here’s the first one:

Hey, in the market for a nifty storage solution? Take a gander at this wonderful Lexar JumpDrive USB drive. It’s got a whopping 256MB of storage and is on sale for $59.99 after two rebates (regular price of $129.99)! Since it was such a great deal, it meant that OfficeMax had to enforce a limit of 1 per customer.

Now I remember buying one of these things for Ann when she was in college because they came in really handy for her group projects. One person would do their part, save it to the drive and pass it on to the next person. I think I spent $40 for 32MB. Now I have almost 3GB of free online storage with Dropbox but still have a 4GB USB drive that cost me much, much less than the 32MB or the one shown here.

Hey, how about a digital camera? Check out these deals!

Click to Embiggen and See the Deals!

First of all, who the Hell knew Visioneer even made digital cameras? If they were made anything like the scanner that I used to have then I can see why they no longer make them (although Visioneer is still in the scanner business). How about that spiffy little deal at the bottom that stores 27 images? Might as well stick with a roll of 24-exposure film.

But hey, about that Olympus Camedia model?

  • 5 megapixels
  • 1.3 LCD display
  • 3x optical, 4x digital zoom
  • Free 64MB xD card with purchase

You get all of these amazing features for the incredibly low price of $599.99! Man oh man, I think I spent a little more than that in 2006 for my 8-megapixel Olympus E-VOLT E-500 DSLR kit with two lenses.

That said, I don’t even want to mention how much I spent on my first computer in 1994. Wait, I already did. No matter how you put it, it really is trippy to see how much technology changes and prices drop in just a few short years, and how what’s new/hot today will be incredibly hysterical to laugh at in the all-too-near future.

Not So Fast, Mister

My job as a proofreader is only so in the most academic sense in that I am paid to find and correct mistakes. But the difference between this and previous proofing jobs is that I don’t have the leeway to grab my red pen and start marking up clean copies like crazy.

Rather, I have a clean copy and a redlined copy and what I do is make sure that the corrections on the redlined version have been made on the most current clean copy, and that it matches the redline character-by-character. That’s right—I have to proof one character at a time and in up to 24 languages, most of which I am not fluent in. You don’t have to be if you’re “proofreading” like this. It’s more like one of those Moose A. Moose puzzles where you have to spot the difference between the four pictures of fuzzy little bunnies.

As you can imagine, this leads to a good deal of frustration, especially when I’m proofing something that, if I were working anywhere else, I would mark the living crap out of and return to the artist that worked on it.

That was the case today when I was proofing a doctor’s form that, um, for the lack of a better term, sucked. Now if I may be so bold, I’d like to share these errors with you along with the corrections I would have loved to make but just am not allowed to.

Ready? Here we go. Continue reading

The Last Hurrah

Whatever the circumstances may have been, it seems that I missed the last two TV shows I worked on. But hey, as long as there’s Hulu or networks posting each episode online the day after each episode’s premiere, I guess I’m in good shape.

That’s where I was able to see my brief appearances in the shows Outlaw and Law & Order: L.A. Here are some screengrabs from both.

First, here’s my part in Outlaw (and where I pretty much sat for two days of shooting, only to appear in this shot):

I had to throw in that big red arrow so you can get a better idea of where I was. The scene was supposed to be set in Mexico but it was actually Pasadena City Hall, where all of the courtroom scenes were shot. It’s an absolutely beautiful place.

Unfortunately, this would be the last time I would work with the cast and crew of Outlaw as it has since been given the proverbial ax by NBC. That’s usually what happens when the show just can’t find a comfortable time slot. I had a blast with the cast and crew who did nothing but treat all of us with dignity and respect. I wish them all the luck in the world.

Then there’s Law & Order: L.A. I watched the episode and wasn’t able to see myself very well but you know what? I was able to see my car:

See the burgundy Ford Fusion parked right there outside the bogus marijuana dispensary? Yeah, that’s my car and what earned me an extra $15 on my paycheck for the day. Much like Outlaw, everybody with LOLA was a lot of fun to work with. Hope to do it again very soon.

And with those shots, my days of watching network TV in the hopes of seeing myself are done until I start booking myself once again, possibly after my contract is up with my current job. We’ll see how it all goes.

Kay Jewelers Can Suck It

Click to Embiggen

I normally don’t write blog posts in the middle of the day but since the fire inside of me is still burning bright, I need to let it all out.

With the Christmas shopping season almost in full gear, retailers are doing just about anything to get you in their stores. You see that image to the left? This was one of those enticing deals designed to get you to spend, spend, spend.

Those $19.99 specials (regular $80 each) were included in the Kay Jewelers catalog that arrived sometime last week. And the minute Ann laid eyes on that ring, she expressed an interest in it so I agreed that I would buy this for her as a Christmas gift.

No, it’s not exactly a knock-’em-dead diamond ring but remember that it’s been a tough year and we’re just sort of getting back on our feet again. And it was what Ann wanted and what would make her happy this Christmas.

So we loaded up the truck and headed down to the Lakewood Mall to make the purchase. It was actually a dual-purpose trip: we were also going there to get Anthony’s picture taken with Santa Claus with our $10 Groupon (regular $25–go Groupon!).

Once our visit with the Jolly Old Fat Man was complete, we meandered over to Kay Jewelers to check out the ring. We were immediately greeted by, for the sake of description, Girl 1. She smiled and asked if there was anything she could show us.

I expressed an interest in the $19.99 ring. She nodded and headed over to the display to grab one that Ann tried on. It just happened to be the right size. It was a done deal.

And then it began. Girl 1 began her spiel about extended warranties, sizing, etc.

“No, we only want the ring,” Ann smiled and told her. Girl 1 continued.

“Did you get any warranties on those rings,” she asked, pointing to Ann’s diamond wedding set. Yes, we did but then again, that set also cost me a few thousand dollars. Big difference. And she’s starting to get annoying.

And not to get too much off-track here, but when I was making more money back in the day, we literally spend thousands at a place called Weisfield Jewelers which, unfortunately, has since closed up all local stores and merged with Kay Jewelers. They were a first-rate jeweler who never gave us any kind of slack. You asked, they helped. You were never pressured into anything you didn’t want and all of the employees at the South Coast Plaza location were as kind as could be.

Then there’s Kay.

As the conversation continued, we made it clear that we were only interested in purchasing the ring. Come on, it’s $20 and the warranty was another $20. I get that they are trying to upsell stuff this time of year and I went so far as to blatantly tell Girl 1 that I’m on a budget after being unemployed for almost 2 years and that the extra $20 wasn’t in cards.

So Girl 1 walks over to the register to complete the transaction–or so we thought.

While behind the register, she handed the ring over to someone I’ll call, for the sake of being polite, Girl 2. Although there were a few other niceties that come to mind with how she handled the siltation. So it wasn’t enough when we told Girl 1 that we only wanted the ring; she had to sic Girl 2 on us to try to retain us.

Girl 2 begins to tell us about the ring. And then she gets in on the whole warranty thing.

“Are you sure you don’t want the extended warranty,” she asked. Ann spoke up.

“No, I already told the other girl I only wanted the ring.” Girl 2 got agitated and threw up her hands, palms facing us.

“Okay okay, I’m just asking!” she said in a manner implying that we had firearms on our person and were ready to ransack the place for every $20 ring they had in stock.

Ann and I stood there, mouths agape. I turned to Ann.

“So…you still want that ring?”

“No, let’s go.” We left the store with Girls 1 and 2 looking a bit surprised yet smug.

It’s Christmas. It’s going to get busy. And having worked retail for years, yes, I know things can get a bit stressful during the holiday season. But unless a customer is making some wild accusation or claim about a price, is about to throw down with you over something stupid, or just being a pain in the ass in general, be good to them, for Chrissakes. They give you money which is why you are business in the first place!

No, no and no, goddamit. Kay had to see it another way. So fuck you, Kay Jewelers. If you had simply handled the situation in a more kindly manner then perhaps you could have had that extra $20 sale on your take tonight but no, because someone behind the counter had to get all high-and-mighty on us and fling an attitude in our direction, you get no sale–and my wife gets no ring since we both refused to have what little money I now make fund the payroll of someone like that.

Now Ann has to set her heart on something else this holiday season. And I don’t care what I have to do, she will get it. You don’t even know how disappointed she is/was about leaving the store without this little trinket of a ring which she loved and was within my budget.

Bored? Give Kay a call and let them know they suck: (562) 633-7141. And tell them they can stick their extended warranty.

Ironically, Kay’s slogan is “Every kiss begins with Kay.”

Well, guys, here’s my ass. Now go on practice what you preach.

(UPDATE: E-mail about the incident was sent to their Customer Service Department, and I’ve also gone through this post and made a bunch of edits/corrections. I was typing in a blind rage when I posted this and missed quite a bit. Calm blue ocean…calm blue ocean…)

(UPDATE 11/25/10: Kay’s Reply)

I would like to thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding your visit to our Lakewood Center Mall, Kay Jewelers location. Our goal is to exceed our customers’ expectations, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond when there is a concern. We will forward this issue to the management staff at the store location for additional review. I want to apologize for how you feel you were treated. This is not how we want our customers to feel when they leave the store.

Once again, I apologize for the inconvenience that you experienced and hope that you will allow us to provide you the service you deserve in the future.

Sincerely,

Amanda L
Customer Care

Jeez, at least Cost Plus was kind enough to send Ann a $25 Gift Card after contacting their Corporate Office about one of their managers disputing a price/signing issue with us. As far as Kay goes, you couldn’t get me to go back there if you tried and I hope someone got busted for their horrible service.

Argh…

There was an awards presentation at Anthony’s school today which, unfortunately, I had to miss since I’m still working. Not unfortunate in that I’m still employed but that I couldn’t be there like so many of his other events in the past. In fact I’m working an extra 5 hours tomorrow, all of which will be sweet, sweet overtime. This’ll come in handy since I will be unpaid for the upcoming holiday office closures. Which will suck.

Anyway, when I got home I was happy to see Anthony’s award, as humble as it may be. It’s not exactly parchment paper or even worthy of framing but it’s recognition nonetheless and that’s good for him especially when you consider he’s still fighting off what’s left of the pneumonia he’s been stricken with for the last few weeks. (And now Ann has it so I’m doubling up on my vitamin doses.)

So I gave him a great, big hug and told him to keep the momentum going. He’s come a long way and I am as proud of him as a parent can be. I then reached for the certificate and looked it over to see why he earned it.

And that’s when I grunted, bitched and moaned.

Why, you ask? Just give it a gander and see if you notice anything wrong (school name and logo intentionally pixelized so as not to incriminate the guilty):

I don’t know who filled out these certificates but…since they were given out to, ya know, students at a school, let’s try and make sure that everything’s spelled right before distributing them, mmmmkay?

Jeez…