“Were you checking out my ass?”

Sunday morning.  With all the depressing, horrible, unfathomable news – both in my life and around the world – I needed some private time.  And that “private time” meant bashing up a wooden crate for a future crate art project.

After taking out my frustration on the scrap wood box, I realized I would need some additional lumber.  Okay, Sunday trip to Curtis Lumber, I can do that.

Ugh.  Gas tank is low.  Better stop at a Speedway and fill up.

Luckily for me, Speedway is running an August promotion where they’re offering gas discounts for loyal customers – spend $3 in purchase and you receive 10c off your gallon.  Oh, you mean I’m paying under $2/gallon to fill up my car?  Yes please.

Continue reading ““Were you checking out my ass?””

Hey Times Union, tell your telemarketers to stop calling me!

It’s been four months since the Albany Times Union and I parted company, and I left their blogging portal.  In those four months, I’ve continued to write and blog and photograph, and I’ve moved toward new goals and new pursuits – as well as a new audience.

But lately I’ve received several phone calls from the Times Union.

And I’m not happy with the calls.

Let me explain.

Last week, the caller ID on my phone registered a 518-776-1010 telephone number.  Local call.  Didn’t recognize it.  Picked up the phone.



Continue reading “Hey Times Union, tell your telemarketers to stop calling me!”

The Incident at A.C. Moore

Yesterday, I needed to take care of some errands.  And one of those errands involved returning some framing materials to the local A.C. Moore hobby shop in Latham.  No big crisis – I bought too many products for my project, and I wanted to return the unused portions and put that money back on my credit card.

I arrived at A.C. Moore.  The place had a few shoppers, but it wasn’t very busy.

As I returned my materials and presented my receipt to prove i purchased the items at A.C. Moore … this happened.

Continue reading “The Incident at A.C. Moore”

No, VIDA, you can’t have my photos…

Here’s my issue with telemarketers and cold calls.  They give you this whole crock about how they love your (writing, photos, look) and they want to (promote your work, hire you for events, cast you in a movie), and although they (have no budget, want you to pay, still want you in the movie), they really want to have you accept (being paid in exposure, being supportive of charities, wear a bag over your face because you’re too ugly to be in the movie).

I pick and choose my charitable donations very carefully.  And I mean VERY carefully.  So when someone from a company called VIDA cold-emailed me about wanting to use my photos as part of a line of clothing and accessories … with the proceeds going to charitable Middle Eastern efforts … it intrigued me.

Then I actually read their pitch.

And it went from “I’m intrigued” to “what kind of horseshit are you trying to push me into?”

Continue reading “No, VIDA, you can’t have my photos…”

Help Ryan West Win the #RyFight

Nearly eighteen months ago, I learned that my good friend, bar trivia host Ryan West, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. He was only 31 years old at the time of the diagnosis.

Ryan’s friends rallied around their stricken comrade, and through all of Ryan’s next months of chemotherapy and treatment, they kept his spirits high and helped him every single day of this new journey.

And although the journey has been difficult – as it would be for anyone – there were moments of brightness and joy.   He married his longtime love Clover, they traveled to far-off and amazing locales, and he received several personal tributes and cheers from a growing rooting section of friends, trivia associates, Ultimate Disc aficionados, and the like.

The journey’s not over.  Every single day that Ryan adds to his timeline and to his lifeline is another day when cancer gets beaten back.  Every day that Ryan lives is another day that cancer loses.

But we know cancer doesn’t completely go away.  And these last few months, according to his blog, have been brutal.  On April 4, his wife Clover posted on Ryan’s blog that his cancer is still growing, and new medications must be taken.

Son of a bitch.  The cancer is fighting back. Continue reading “Help Ryan West Win the #RyFight”

Another Verizon “nickel and dime” trick

verizonfailIt started last week, when I noticed something different about the phone numbers on my Caller ID feature from my BlackBerry PRIV cell phone.

Normally, when I receive a call from someone, their phone number pops up as a Caller ID message.  And if I’ve programmed their name into the phone, then their name comes up as well.  Then again, I also sort my calls by giving the most important people in my life special custom-made ringtones.

But last week, I noticed that a new caller had appeared on my Caller ID.  And not by number – by name.  And the name wasn’t one that I had previously programmed.

Apparently during one of my phone updates, I somehow “subscribed” to a free trial of Verizon’s Caller ID Name feature.  With this little feature, Verizon would graciously add the name of the person or business or entity calling me, just in case I wouldn’t be able to figure out the caller by a telephone number.

Yesterday, I discovered how “free” the service really is.

Verizon sent me a message saying that my “free trial” was finished, and if I wanted to continue using the service, it would be added to my bill for the low cost of $2.99/month.

Wow.  Talk about “opting in.”

Nice try, Verizon.  I don’t need to pay an additional $3/month for get something that you should be providing to me for free anyway.  My PRIV has the ability to already program numbers and names and faces into my phone; and there’s even an option where it will match up a person’s name with their Facebook photo, should I possibly forget who they look like.

Seriously, Verizon?  You’re going to nickel and dime me over this?  What’s next, you gonna charge me an additional tariff for making phone calls to left-handed parties?  You gonna charge me a surcharge if I dial the old Times Union pre-recorded sports hotline from 1996?  You gonna charge me additional if I take more than one carry-on bag with me on the flight?  Sorry, got my Verizon rant mixed up with my United rant.

I tell you what, Verizon.  I’ll make you a deal.  I’ll pay you the additional $3/month tribute … on one condition.

In return for paying this vigorish, you immediately block all the spambots and robocallers and swindlers and scam artists who seem to think my phone is some sort of home base in a game of scam Tag.  Block all those vehicle service contract companies and timeshare sellers and phishers from “Windows Technical Support” and give me some peace of mind.

Because right now I’m in a very bad place, healthwise and psyche-wise.

And I shouldn’t have to deal with nickel-and-dime surcharges from Big Telecom.

Yeah.  I hope you can hear me now, Red Check.

Or maybe, as always, you’re giving me the Rhett Butler response to my concerns.

You know … “Frankly, Mr. Miller, we don’t give a damn.”