Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fun Was On The Phone From Dehli

This is pretty much verbatim, less my snarky comments, of a phone conversation I had today with a Customer Service Rep.

CSR: Hello, may I have your name?
Me: David Meyer.
CSR: Thank you Mr. Mayor, and what is your email?
Me: D Meyer at RJ Meyer CO dot com.
CSR: OK…B Mayor @ RJ Mayor dot com.
Me: No, D, as in David, M-E-Y-E-R at RJMEYERCO.COM
CSR: M-A-Y-R –C-O dot com?
We finally get that straightened out
CSR: Right, and where are you from?
Me: Pittsburgh
CSR: (most assuredly onscreen prompt) Ah yes, City of Bridges. And how can I help you?
Me: (Fictional Response) Well, seems as though Microsoft, power company that they are, has failed miserably in its ability to email me a simple link that actually works so that I can download this update that I already fucking paid for! This is the third 800 number that I have called, the last two of which were probably answered by the jackasses sitting right next to you. And another thing, why is at that EVERY time I get into a phone menu it starts with “Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed.” I mean really? Changed from what? But anyway, please help me.
CSR: I am very sorry to hear about the trouble you are having.
Me: (Fictional Response) No, you are not sorry, and I am totally fine with that. So let’s cut through this bullshit and get to work.
INTERMISSION: We discuss the problem; the CSR does some pecking on the keyboard.
CSR: Ok Mr. Mayor, I am going to email you a link that will direct you to the download platform. (etc. etc.)
Me: That would be great.
CSR: Please check your spam and junk mail folders if you do not see it in five to ten minutes.
Me: (fictional response) I will, it should stick out amongst the emails for Viagra and Rolex’s.

After this, I was tempted to send this email to Bill Gates: “Dear Bill, First off, did your menu options really change? Second, I just wanted you to know that the Little Miss India was infinitely more helpful than the email from your company. I can get illicit photos of a topless housewife in Tempe with a quick Google search but can’t get a link in your email to recognize my order. Anyway, good luck with the Foundation. Sincerely, Dave Mayor.”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I've Got Your Monster Truck

I get it. I really do. There are things that I don’t like that others find satisfying. I am more than happy to chalk that up to taste. Whatever. Take Coldplay…as stated many times…I can’t stand them. Others think they are about as close as we will ever get to a Beatles reunion. And I mean akin to John, Paul, George and Ringo (or at least Pete Best.)

But, there remain things that I don’t like that I don’t know how anyone could like! For instance, while zipping through the channels tonight, I came across the USHRA (whatever that stands for) Monster Truck Jam…in the Netherlands no less, on the Speed Channel. The competition was basically a single elimination tournament whereby “monster trucks” make two laps around a dirt track. That’s it. The production value was slick, with a color commentator and interviews in between heats with the drivers.

First, these trucks look exactly like remote control cars. Really, if you didn’t have the scope that this was being held in an arena you could easily be fooled into thinking you were watching a commercial for a Tyco remote control. The trucks are all gussied up with fancy paint jobs…one had devil horns jutting from the roof, and fashion themselves with cool names like Grave Digger and Nitro Circus.

I have to ask. Who does this appeal too? Or maybe a better question, since the stands were actually packed and at one point the crowd was in such a frenzy they were doing the wave, what is the appeal? The individual heats last literally about twenty seconds. Ready. Set. Go. Jump that pile of dirt. Finished. Bring out Wingnut and Asshat for heat two. “Give it up Netherlands!” Wild.

I’m not a fan of auto racing but I get the appeal. The speed, endurance and tactics…all fun stuff. I especially like when they all come out of the pits together. Most people can’t merge onto an interstate without coming to a near stop and these guys (and Danica!) slide into place with all the ease of a school of fish.

This whole monster truck crowd does make me wonder if these folks view the bumper cars at an amusement park a little differently than I do. I mean, it all seems like playing with toys to me.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Take On Fashion And The Fools Who Fall For It

I enjoy Esquire magazine. It was within its pages that I first became acquainted with Chuck Klosterman, the pre-eminent pop-culture journalist of my generation. It has some solid feature reporting and a fair dose of music and reviews. There are however, parts of the magazine that leave me shaking my head. Not in the sense that the articles are poorly written, but in the sense that I wonder what sort of D-Bag they appeal to.

For instance, this month, on page fifty is an overview of blue jeans. Fair enough. But after scanning this (lots of comments about “washes” and adjectives about the color “blue”) I remained stunned by two things; 1) the costs range from $195.00 to $285.00, and 2) the crux of the issue…who in the hell would spend that kind of money on blue jeans?

I had a similar feeling last year when my wife and I were in South Beach for a long weekend. (Travel Note: South Beach is a pretty cool place but $26.00 for a Heineken and a vodka tonic is overpriced unless it is being served alongside grapes that are being fed to me by Erin Andrews (see photo) in between wardrobe changes. However Emeril’s restaurant at the Lowes is the real deal.) Anyway, on the rare occasion Bonnie was in a store that sold men’s clothes, I would browse the racks that dangled shirts…none of which looked like they should be tucked in. Now, though this was nice merchandise, the least expensive shirt I found was in the neighborhood of $400.00. Four hundred fucking dollars! For a shirt. I was relaying this same story to my brother-in-law last week over beers and wings and I told him, “I cannot imagine if I was worth a billion dollars that I would feel anything but I was getting screwed if I paid that much money for a shirt.”

And this is really the point of the matter…if you spent two hundred bucks on a pair of jeans how can you not feel like you are getting screwed? More to the point maybe, if you did dole that cash over, what in the hell kind of statement are you trying to make? I guess there is this whole demographic out there who could pair those indigo, brushed, stretchy blend, whisker detail (all words in the article) jeans with a nice four hundred dollar linen, un-tucked shirt, sip a twenty dollar cocktail and feel good about themselves…or at least try to bury the vain, shallow existence they are most certainly living. Me, I’m having a Stoney’s Beer in my Levi’s and Old Navy T-Shirt and am feeling pretty good about the steak I am about to grill.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

On Cursing


The recessed lights in our kitchen are on a dimmer switch. Turning them on full throttle throws out enough lumens to actually guide planes and causes the dial on our electric meter to spin at terrifying speeds. I have a switch too…we’ll call it my cursing switch (or swear-switch…not sure what I like better.) I am confounded as to how I can dial this around the spectrum as needed. While there are some variations, here are the levels:

LEVEL 1 CURSING (or, no cursing) - This is used around my parents, specifically my mom. Also, used in business meetings where I don’t know the other person (there is always a feeling out period in business, and hence, the cursing can be dialed up appropriately.) Basically, things like “What da heck!”

LEVEL 2 CURSING – This is the stage where I introduce the “H” word and the “S” word and occasionally the “D” word. Casual conversation around my wife is a good example. “Hey honey, where the hell are my keys?” I also bring in some of these words around the kids, “Find the damned remote!”

LEVEL 3 CURSING – This is where I bring out the big guns, most notable the “F” bomb. Used mostly around casual friends and co-workers where I know I can get away with it. “Are you fucking kidding me?”

LEVEL 4 CURSING (double down!) – Mostly reserved for the core friends group. This is where I do my best work and start to get creative, as all good potty mouths must. When you are with someone who could care less about your language, you can start to let the “motherfuckers” and “cocksuckers” fly with reckless abandon. Let me tell you, it’s fucking liberating.

LEVEL 5 CURSING (inflection based swearing) - When I am at Level 5 cursing, I am not so much introducing new words as much as I am using the Level 4 litany for emphasis when I am angry. Though the tone is hard to judge in the written word, I think we all know there is a huge difference between calling a friend a “stupid motherfucker” and calling an enemy one…the difference is striking.

It’s fun to curse…and like that dimmer switch, easy to slide up and down through these levels. Now, If you have one of your own favorites, please share it with me…you no good cocksucking motherfucker.

(First, I do apologize for the curse words above…luckily mom will not be reading this anytime soon. Second, the word motherfucker does not get pinged in Word Spell-check.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Choose Your Side Wisely

A friend came to me the other day and told me his fiancĂ© was going to be moving in with him. I issued to him one of the most important bits of advice I could…in fact, maybe it was indeed a cautionary tale. No, it wasn’t, “Go ahead if you think there is no hell.*” It was more insightful. “Go to your bedroom,” I explained, “and make damned sure you know what side of the bed you want. That first night, the first official night that you two are living together, will set the gold standard. And if you think vacations in a nice hotel are going to get you a reprieve, forget it. You will never sleep on the other side of the bed…ever. Choose wisely.”

I know it doesn’t seem like such a big deal at the time. For my part, I was still reeling from the fact that someone (other than four other dudes at college…you know who you are) was willing to live with me, a real, live woman no less, that it seemed like a trivial matter at the time.

Not that it matters much. In fact, when Bonnie was recently out of town, an experiment was in order. No, not the one where I watched the DVD’s I picked up in Myrtle Beach last year. After the kids went to sleep, I crawled onto her side of the bed. The side is either the right or left depending on your perspective. I am sure there are some guidelines about the delineation…but to me it is kind of like figuring out the difference between stage right and stage left. Doesn’t it just, well, depend? Anyway, after I figured out her alarm clock and swapped pillows, it was all sort of anti-climactic.

I came to realize the one downfall of this, at least in my case, is when we are not home. She is more of a TV watcher in bed and I am more of a reader. This works fine at home where we both have access to lamps. But on the road, we are usually sharing a room with the boys. So we are inevitably left with a bed with a light on only one side (and it is usually one of those that are mounted to the wall where you have to hit the switch eight times while you cycle through the endless possibilities of lighting combinations.) I always end up on the side without the light and the bed about two and half inches from the wall.

GW famously said as the great “decider,” (or was that the great “decision-er”) “You are either with us or against us.” Say what you will about the man, but he knew the importance of picking the right (or left) side.

(* This was a quote from Gene Collier, a Pittsburgh Post Gazette columnist and funny guy. Cite my sources I will.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Long Play - 33 1/3

Does anyone else miss LP’s? I have exactly zero these days. I sold all of mine around the time I went to college. I boxed all of them up (even Boston with the cool guitar/flying saucer art) and took them to Eides where I think I got about fifty dollars for them, less than a buck a piece since some they didn’t want; I donated them anyway.

I really don’t miss the music, I have recouped most of it via CD’s or downloads (all paid for by the way…regardless of what argument you want to make about the scoundrel record business, I never had it in me to rip off an artist.) What I miss is the whole package, the cover, the liner notes, the LP itself. There was no fast forward, no shuffle or repeat play, and to hear the whole thing you had to turn it over. Imagine! For God’s sake, I miss alphabetizing them. I also miss the hardware. I think at the end of my LP days I had a modest component set with hand me down speakers from my older brother. It had the long pin on the turntable that you could stack several LPs on, when one side was done, the arm would pull back, and the next record would drop down and begin playing. I miss wanting to hear a certain song and gently taking the arm and manually trying to move it to the darker groove in between songs, and rarely getting that right. I’d end up catching the last few, fading chords of the previous song. You got to know your records too…where they skipped, the rare gem on the B-Side (think Thunderbird…last song on Quiet Riot’s Metal Health.) I miss the crunchy static in between songs. It’s not lost on me that my kids will probably never buy an album in a store…and that’s a shame.

There is a great, online debate raging between me and my buddy Mark about the state of music over the past twenty years…and as of this writing I am waiting for a reply. But I am convinced of this, if we had more LPs and less downloads, we may still have Garth Brooks but we would have less Jack Johnson…and that’s a world I could live in.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Reality Check, Please!

I was going to try and come up with a really good reason why, at 9:30 last night, I was laying in bed watching the Bachelor finale. “24” was on, but I have become used to DVR’ing that to watch Tuesday when I can get through the show in forty minutes. Truth be told, come 9:30, I am ready to lie in bed, and let’s face it, there are worse places to be than in bed with your wife on a Monday night. The consensus seemed to be that Jake, the bachelor, picked the “wrong” girl. However, when a raft of woman who share one of these traits; sexy, crazy or slutty, enter what amounts to a contest to win a husband, I am not convinced there is a “right” one on the bunch.

But here is really what perked me up. At about 9:50 they announced the new contestants for “Dancing With The Stars.” “Stars” of course is now apparently completely subjective. Anyway, here is the partial list:

1) Kate Gosselin – There is no stopping this train wreck from mucking up her kid’s lives, so I am not surprised. Does anyone else get the feeling she is dying to be trampy?

2) Chad Ochocinco (spell-check has a field day with that name) – At some point I expect him to lay his standard “I ain’t never been in no trouble off the field,” line to someone. To which I would love to respond, “Still doesn’t give you a pass on being an asshole.”

3) Pam Anderson – Breast residuals must be drying up.

4) Erin Andrews – I will be honest, I felt terrible for her being violated the way she was, however, I would have watched the video…anyone who says otherwise, at least guys, is a liar. Still, I find it odd after her whole experience she will now be showing more leg than a turkey processing plant.

But all this really just brings me to something I never thought I would hear. Somehow, someway, someone talked Buzz Fucking Aldrin into competing. How do you pitch this show to the second man who walked on the moon? “Mr. Aldrin? You know that service to your country and the whole crazy moon landing thing? That was all great, but just imagine the chance to compete on a dance show!” Even crazier is the thought that he said, “I’ll be damned! I love that show…sign me up!” So, I guess now I will wait to hear, “This season on Celebrity Rehab, Buzz Aldrin.”