Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sale on Furniture at -- not such a deal after all

Not so much.

Now that House 2.0 is complete, I've been trying to fill it with furniture and make it a little more functional. I saw on Brad's Deals that was having a double coupon sale on furniture:

I decided to pickup a desk and a matching console table.

I ordered both on February 20th, 2006; the desk arrived on Thursday 2/22 and the console arrived yesterday 2/27. Even though the boxes were about the same size and the same weight (about 70lbs each), the desk was left on my porch while I had to schedule a delivery for the console table.

Both pieces arrived in about 100 pieces, and the instructions state clearly that you need to first inventory the contents of the box against the packing list; if any pieces are missing, you should box everything back up and return this 70 pound box to your nearest Target store for a refund.

With the desk, I inventoried the contents, everything was there, and I spent a little over an hour putting it together. For build-it-yourself furniture, it's some of the nicest that I've ever seen. They use a cam-lock system so that all the pieces fit together tightly and don't give over time (like the screw-together schwag you buy from a certain blue, Swedish, art-deco company).

When the console arrived, I again inventoried the contents before I started putting it together. Everything was going along fine, until...

both of these pieces are just like the other
both of these pieces go on the right
they're labeled different, which causes a problem
looks like there's going to be a fight...

Why a fight? Why should I return a 3/4 built console table to Target, and have to sit home another afternoon while they ship me a new one?

The front of the instructions have an email address (for the manufacturer) if you have questions, so I shot them a note:

Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2007 23:11:18 -0500
Subject: Problem: Style MDJ1825 DPCI 249-13-0063

I ordered both the console table (which this email is regarding) and the matching desk on 20-FEB-2007 (Target order #601-5865063-4028912). I had no trouble assembling the desk when it arrived last week.

The console table arrived today. Per the instructions, I did an inventory of all pieces before assembling. I realized when I got to step 5 that although the two sides were labeled 2A and 5A, that the 5A labeled piece is a second right side. I am attaching pictures -- since I have already assembled this and I did follow the instructions, I would like a replacement left side panel (should be 5A) sent to complete this.

Attached: [pictures you see above]

For good measure, I emailed and let them know of my plight. They were first to respond:

Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2007 20:42:59 -0800 (PST)
From: " Guest Services"
Subject: Your Order (#601-5865063-4028912)
X-AMAZON-CLIENT-SENDTIME: Tue Feb 27 20:42:59 PST 2007

Dear John,

Can you give us a call at (800) 591-3869? We'd like to help you out, and it would be easier to take care of this over the phone.

Thanks for writing. We look forward to speaking with you.

Best regards,

I decided to wait until today to call the 800 number. When I did, the rep I spoke to apologized and gave me two options: (1) return the half-built desk and he'll send me a new one, or (2) he'll send me a new one, take the part I need out of it, then return that to a Target store. He did also offer that if I took the latter choice, I could "have the delivery person wait, take the piece I needed out, repackage it, and let him take it back along with a preprinted return label".

What a nice thought, but it was hard not to laugh at him. They means that I need to sit home and wait for the replacement, but also that I need to remove 100 pieces from the styrofoam packing to get the one piece I needed off the bottom, then repack everything. It takes at least 20 minutes to unpack all the pieces from the box.

What I want is a replacement left side, which Target isn't able to do. I understand that the inventory process at the beginning is supposed to prevent all this, but I did that and I'm being penalized for not realizing that a part was mislabeled.

I did hear back from the email address on the instructions:

From: AIM S1B-SZ
Cc: AIM Ban-sz ,
Subject: re: Problem: Style MDJ1825 DPCI 249-13-0063 2.28
X-Mailer: Lotus Notes Release 6.5.1 January 21, 2004
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 14:35:30 +0800

thanks for your mail.
we already order the left side panel(5A) form the manufacturer at same time,
pls tell me your detail adress & tel# for following up.

customer care need all your pant today? All your pant not done.

Wowsers. I sent them my information, hopefully that means that they can send me the part I need and avoid having to return one of these monsters to a Target store. The rep I spoke to did remind me that I have 90 days to return this, so hopefully it all works out.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Reagan defeated Communism so you could have microcredit

While learning about Microcredit in my Economics class, we've discussed -- an online marketplace for borrowers and lenders:

This is their second incarnation after a recent redesign. The idea is really interesting, but whether it will take off or not remains to be seen I guess.

I was explaining it to Kirsten this morning, and I suggested that we become eLoanSharks. There is discussion about Prosper on Clever Dude in reference to I shared an interesting analysis of a loan that Rateladder funded through Google Reader...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What I have in common with little girls

Periodically, I find myself checking to see if they have any new chocolates.

I saw a commercial for Real Housewives of Orange County last week where one of the little brats was shopping for ponies online. She picked one out, and her uber rich step father-to-be was like "I don't like that one".

So when I was browsing to look at puppies, it occurred to me that probably 90% of their website visits are little girls going omg look at the puppy!!! look at the cutsie widdle puppy!!!.

Call me what you want, but I think adorable little puppies bring out the little girl in all of us.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Some Blogkeeping Activities

(1) Great Moments in AlphaJohnness -- deleted
(2) Google Adsense ads -- all removed
(3) Your Blogsmith -- tired and cranky today

That is all.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Watch in amazement as your employer thinks for itself!

Oh wait, never mind:

This is a just a reminder of our meeting Tuesday, February 20 at 1 PM. [Redacted person] is researching [redacted concept] at other universities to see their membership, responsibilities, and duties.

We will eventually have a draft mission statement to review.

In the mean time, it's an opportunity to share and communicate across

This is an actual email I just received, reminding me of tomorrow's meeting. This group has been meeting for years now, but they need to meet tomorrow and continue to see what other schools are doing so we can decide what our (draft) mission statement should look like.

::scratches head::

Many organizes suffer under group-think, this is some kind of second-guessing that cripples us; we always need to see what other schools are doing before we make a decisions, even though we always want to do things differently.

We need an autocrat in the worst way.

McGraw-Hill's Homework Manager is a cunt

I'm taking my last required account class this semester. Our professor requires that we do our homework online using McGraw-Hill's Homework Manager. For very simple home assignments (especially things like matching and some basic journalization of transactions) it's pretty slick. Beyond that, it blows.

We did not have class this past week because of Wednesday's snow storm; our professor sent an email and told us that the due date for this homework assignment was extended another week.

Vaguely remembering this email, I came home tonight a little after 9:30pm and checked homework manager to be sure the due date wasn't midnight tonight (like it always is). Sure enough, it said assignment three was due at midnight.

I spent the next two hours rushing through the assignment to make sure it was in on time. Keep in mind that my book and my notes are at the office, and I'm trying to do this from home.

I finished with less than five minutes to spare, and my grade comes back a 74%. Considering there's a chapter of material we didn't cover, I thought this was actually pretty good. Then I looked at the side-by-side of my results and the correct answers and realized why I lost so many points:
  • I denoted negative amounts in parens ($1000), which is a convention in accounting, instead of with a negative [-$1000] sign
  • I miscalculated formulas I have not yet learned (that I dug up on the Internet(s))
  • I left three digits after the decimal instead of two (more precise == more wronger), and
  • in a five part question where everything was done in order, I did not going back twice to earlier parts of the answer and update the T-Accounts in part one with changes that happened in parts three and four (which the instructions never told me to do, and makes no fucking sense)

I emailed a nastygram to my professor and told her I was not amused that I rushed through that and spent two hours to get a 74% when it wasn't even due. I should be able to redo the homework for a higher grade (we typically get two chances) once she fixes homework manager, but clearly it's going to take at least an hour to redo since it has about a million fucking parts to it.

What a fucking donkey show this class is turning out to be.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Robot Insurance

Thanks to Will, though now I wish I had an attack robot... :/

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Order from Chaos

In case you missed the news, it snowed a little bit here in Northern Virginia. Not to worry, because I used the time to finish the hall closet and get the house back in order. I'll be putting a light over the kitchen table this weekend, then House 2.0 will be finished (decorations not included).

Look for a house warming party evite in the very near future, followed by one or two roomates of varying shapes and sizes.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Two Trips to Teany

One of my favorite places to visit when I'm in New York is Teany, a small cafe owned by Moby. It's nice to take a break from running around to sip a pot of tea and chat with power lesbians about Anna Nichole's death.

Later in the afternoon, I realized I had lost my cell phone at Teany:
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2007 13:56:27 -0500
From: ransim
To: theAlphaJohn
Subject: Your Cell Phone

You're cell phone is at Teany's, you left if there, I tried to call you and someone called me back from there and wanted me to tell you. Hopefully you get this, not really sure how else to reach you and wasn't sure when you were heading back.

Also I told her if you had left or didn't get it back that you'd call to have them mail it.


A trip back that evening reunited me with the phone I plan to dump and filled my tummy with the best piece of carrot cake known to man (with some kind of vegan frosting that still made my inner carnivore smile).

I will be sending a thank you letter.

Until our dreams come true, we live on Avenue Q...

I saw Avenue Q for the first time in February 2004, right before they won the Tony Award. I figured it was so funny I'd see it again:

What is AVENUE Q about?

AVENUE Q is the story of Princeton, a bright-eyed college grad who comes to New York City with big dreams and a tiny bank account. He soon discovers that the only neighborhood in his price range is Avenue Q; still, the neighbors seem nice. There's Brian the out-of-work comedian and his therapist fianceé Christmas Eve; Nicky the good-hearted slacker and his roommate Rod -- a Republican investment banker who seems to have some sort of secret; an Internet addict called Trekkie Monster; and a very cute kindergarten teaching assistant named Kate. And would you believe the building's superintendent is Gary Coleman?!? (Yes, that Gary Coleman.) Together, Princeton and his newfound friends struggle to find jobs, dates, and their ever-elusive purpose in life.

Still a fucking riot. I was surprised that it was no where near packed, and on a Friday night.

The Opie and Anthony not-so-walkover

Camping out in the cold is a small price to pay to meet your heros.

Except when they don't show up.
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2007 19:36:27 -0500
From: theAlphaJohn
Subject: Friday's walkover


Long time listener in the DC area (when O&A were syndicated on WJFK then had XM for the show's first day back) -- not that it matters. A buddy and I drove up to NYC Thursday night to catch Friday's walkover and completely missed it. One of us was outside CBS and the other was outside the Steinway building by 8:40am and waited until 9:30am but never saw anyone. Just got home tonight and DVR'ed Friday's show on DirecTV, and the show wrapped at CBS at 9 and they were back by 9:15am. What the hell did we miss?


Hopefully Steve will write back and let me know what happened...?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

I was able to get tickets for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at the beginning of this week. That's not a huge stretch though, considering that it's really just a ticket to stand in line. None the less, only 2 1/2 hours later I was out of the freezing cold and in the door and laffing and laffing and laffing.

Some interesting things about the taping:
  • The "fluffer" is Emmy Award winning writer Paul Mercurio, who happens to be the reason Opie and Anthony were fired for Sex for Sam III in 2001. He does amazing crowd work, very funny.
  • Jon actually comes out and answers questions before the show. He took the time to answer every question in the audience.
  • There was a story in our taping about the Superbowl commercials, and funny enough was a skit about a robot on the GM assembly line committing suicide. I thought immediately of George.
  • The correspondent piece during our episode was about the douche who sued ladies night back in January that Mary sent me.

It was an awesome experience. I need to get on Steven Colbert's show next time I'm up there.

Go North, Young Man

I needed a break, so I'm taking Thursday and Friday off this week for a mini-vacation up to New York City. I'm staying just across the river in Jersey City, and I have quite a bit on the agenda. Let's see how much actually gets accomplished.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Workplace is Toxic

That's all I have to lament for now.

Let's give this a shot

To your right is a new element called "Foibles from the Internet(s)"; it's a collection of links I'm sharing from Google Reader:

Reader has always been about sharing your favorite items. One of the more fun things you can do with them is put them on your blog. That way your readers can see what you've been finding interesting, even if you don't have the time to do full posts.

Until now, putting your shared items in your blog required some technical chops, since you needed to copy and paste some code into your template. We'd always wanted to make this easier, so we worked with our friends on the Blogger team. As a result, the entire process now only takes a few clicks for Blogger users*.

We'll try it out and see how it goes...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

ATHF Lite Brite Bombs

George sent several ATHF related items my way this weekend:

A Mugshot of Err:

A shot of Err from Al-Jazeera in his native garb:

A Flash game called Save Boston.

And I'll leave you with my favorite Mooninite quotes:
"Using a key to gouge expletives on another's vehicle is a sign of trust and friendship." -The Mooninites, Aqua Teen Hunger Force

"That's right moon! You best check yourself...before you wreck yourself."
-Meatwad, Aqua Teen Hunger Force

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one...and if you think I got that from Star Trek, you are very wrong mister."
-The Mooninites, Aqua Teen Hunger Force

E: "What you need is our free 'warrior kit'".
I: "Oh most definately."
E: "We're selling it, and you're buying it."
I: "It's got the helmet, energy bars, electric shoes, Gorgatron repellant, Moonmaster stickers, and now for the first time, instructional video."
E: "And it's all free."
M: "Ok, how do I get that?"
I: "You pay far out the ass for it."
E: "It's just three easy installments of $29.99."
I: "Unless you want our race to die, which it seems like you do."
M: "Oh no no, I don't want that. But, I thought you said it was free?"
I: "It was free. A true warrior would have jumped on it like a beast, before it went straight up to $99.99."
M: "Well damn, I guess I do need training."
E: "What you need is recognition."
I: "For a one time charge, get your name placed in this handsome leather-bound volume of 'who's among moonmasters'."
E: "You're the only one, and you're on page one."
M: "Hey...You know what? It's a pretty good deal."
-Ignignokt, Err, and Meatwad, Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Friday, February 02, 2007

Barry decides to pile on

Barry: Since Luminis uses SunONE, and a custom version of the JVM for that matter, is there a patch for the DST change?
theAlphaJohn: Did the DST change affect Java too (stupid though that may sound)?
Barry: Yup. There are Java patches for DST.
theAlphaJohn: shit...I'll open a ticket with SCT
theAlphaJohn: what is the bill called that changes dst?
theAlphaJohn: the "I didn't vote for your fake president act of 2005"?
Barry: It's the Energy Policy Act of 2005
theAlphaJohn: i opened a support ticket
theAlphaJohn: high priority
theAlphaJohn: i estimate a response in the year of our lord 2099
Barry: it's the "Let's kick computer people in the nuts again after Y2K bill."
theAlphaJohn: if medical science makes me go through that shit again...
theAlphaJohn: i spent the millennium on the roof of my office building, and all i have to show for it is a teardrop shaped bottle of evian
theAlphaJohn: instead of getting herpes from a girl who thought the world was going to come to an end
theAlphaJohn: we did get to use the "Declare new Epoch" command in Netware though...
Barry: ooooo...At least you didn't get herpes.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Louis Vuitton buys Aston Martin

From Autoblog:

All the bids are in and the winning bidder has been revealed: Aston Martin is being bought by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the French luxury goods consortium that produces upper-crust products ranging from leather trunks and wallets to champagne and cognac...and now exotic luxury sports cars, too.

Attention all rappers: sell your Gallardo, turn in your Benz, and give away you 'Slade. Every new Aston Martin will come with a Louis Vuitton man-bag filled with Hennessy.

If only it came with bitches...

Apparently it's bunk

All's quiet on the frustrated front

Forgive the lack of funny this week, but I'm having a miserable couple weeks at work (this week being the worst). I spent my entire workday yesterday toiling in misery, only to be asked at 4:30pm to produce a CYA email that took 40 minutes to write (for barely 9 paragraphs). Today is equally frustrating.

I had class last night, and when I came back to campus I was surprised to find my lecture hall evacuated with the fire alarms going off. We were outside in the cold for 10-15 minutes when I started to fantasize about the building actually being on fire, and the fire engulfing the entire campus until only a crater was left.

Which, from what I gather, is the same way the entire city of Boston reacted to a few Lite Brites that were setup to promote Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Tom Menino is such a fucking douche. If only he had died in a fiery car accident while vacationing alone in Florida...