Archive for the Scattershot Category

Twitter, blogs, Facebook, hell, why not just follow me around?

Posted in Scattershot with tags , on 24 March, 09 by MastrN8

I have been blogging (poorly) for just over a year now. I really do enjoy it even though I hardly ever write anymore. For me it’s a way to clear out and reorganize the junk bin ‘tween my ears. I have found that when I do jot something down, even just a line or two, I feel clear-headed and better able to focus. It’s like working out in two ways; first, you always feel better once it’s done and you are motivated to do it more frequently immediately afterwards. Secondly, the best times to blog, or workout, are when you wish to perform said activities the least. Over the past year, this has been my main form of mental release.

Just a few months ago I caught back up with the rest of the world by signing up with Facebook. I was able to reconnect with those that I had lost and those that were just acquaintances at first I am finding that I have a lot in common with. All in all, I am shocked, amazed and frankly bummed that I didn’t join Facebook sooner. It’s all good though. I’m still learning the rules of engagement and the different colloquialisms that go along with the site. I love it and am truly addicted to it. My favorite part? Reading the status updates that people post, by far! It’s like talking or texting to someone all of the time!

Whether he knew this fact or not, my brother-in-law told me that I should join Twitter. At first I was skeptical simply because I had no idea what it was. I thought that it was just another blogging site.  As you can tell I already belong to one of those. After he explained to me that it was just like facebook’s status updates without all the other junk, I was very interested! Needless to say, I am very much now a Twitter-er. I am proud to say that I have even linked my phone so that I can update my status via text. Call me what you will but I think this is awesome.  My only complaint is that I don’t have the amount of friends on Twitter as I do on Facebook. My hope is that my friends read this and become converts.

Hello 21st century!

Add Pottery Barn to the list of Greedy Corporations

Posted in Scattershot with tags , on 3 January, 09 by MastrN8

This is a letter I recently wrote to Pottery Barn. In it, I explain the situation in detail so I’ll just let you read it. Note: In this post I replaced my real name with my blogger name. Pottery Barn knows me not as MastrN8.

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is MastrN8. I would like to begin by telling whomever reads this that my wife and I adore your company and the merchandise it sells. Although we are just starting out and cannot afford everything we want right now, we do make a habit of buying what we can from Pottery Barn. We also feel that every time we are in the store that the staff is very courteous, genial and prompt. Even throughout the holidays the store in the Promenade Shops at Briargate in Colorado Springs, CO (#731) was well kept and made for a pleasant shopping experience. That was until today.

Today I went into Pottery Barn #731 in the hopes of exacting an even exchange; however, the situation, which I expected to be quick and easy, turned out to be difficult and frankly, painful. I expected to exchange the frame I had for a comparable one, not only in size, but style; since my wife likes them so much I also expected to buy a few more. For Christmas, my wife asked for Pottery Barn’s red grosgrain frames in various sizes; she received a total of six of them. One of the frames, the 5×7, was engraved with “Christmas 2008”. The person that gave her said frame did not see the small line on the box indicating that this phrase was engraved on the frame. When I went to exchange this frame for an un-engraved frame, I walked into a nightmare.

I walked into the store at 2:25 p.m.; I made a note of the time because I had an appointment to keep at three. The first thing I noticed upon entering the store was the lack of employees. No one was minding the register and I waited a full five minutes before a young woman helped me out. I forget her name but she was very courteous and friendly. She had long brown hair and a green shirt on. She said she would be happy to help and after calling around trying to find a SKU # for the “Christmas” frame, she had the unfortunate responsibility of telling me that since I did not have the receipt, I would have to pay an extra $10.97 to make up the difference in price. This was upsetting to me knowing that I would have to pay for a gift. I decided to pay but to also make my disappointment known to the manager. Keep in mind that I entered the store at 2:25.

At 2:41, the manager, Denise, finally showed up to talk to me. Denise was very polite and apologetic but I believe she failed to grasp the point I was trying to make. She explained to me numerous times that even at the height of the season the “plain” frames were still more expensive that the “Christmas” frames. I understand that perfectly. I was trying to explain to her that I found it disappointing that there was such a long wait to be helped. That it was disappointing that I needed to pay for a gift that was given. That it was disappointing that cookie-cutter, big-box, chain retailers cannot be flexible with customers that wish to spend money in their store.

The point I am trying to make in this long-winded letter is this: I am disappointed in Pottery Barn’s handling of this situation. It seems to me that P.B. would rather keep $10.97 than keep a returning customer. The store is tainted to me now. Where I once saw beauty and elegance in a store’s merchandise, I now merely see greed and a yearning to meet the bottom-line at all costs. I don’t blame you; I have read the reports. Williams-Sonoma’s Q3 earnings were dismal at best. To quote your own CEO Howard Lester, “To put this in perspective, company-wide comparable store sales declined from negative 14.0% in August to negative 20.1% in September to negative 27.6% in October.” The Williams-Sonoma family of companies seems to be bleeding money profusely! No wonder Denise didn’t want to lose the ten dollars and ninety-seven cents

If this were my company though, I would be more worried about returning customers that wish to spend money above and beyond a simple exchange, rather than the difference of said exchange. In other words, wouldn’t you rather bend the rules for a loyal customer that wishes to spend more money on the same visit, than just get the difference of the exchange and never see that customer again?

I hope this letter finds the appropriate eyes. I hope that this letter doesn’t get received only to be pushed aside and be replaced by a stock email that details your return and exchange policy. If you think I am disappointed now, wait until you see my response to an automatically generated email. You won’t get rid of me by just handing me a meaningless email chock full of information that I already know. The point here is this: if you wish to achieve record sales and keep the customers you have, treat them as people. Look up from your number reports and bottom-line, and focus on the patrons in your stores. If making a customer happy means a 5 Million dollar bonus to the CEO rather than a 10 million dollar bonus then so be it! I am confident that the rest of my middle to upper middle class brothers and sisters will tell you the same.

I know there are some circumstances in which you simply cannot budge on policy, however, I implore you to take these situations case by case! You have lost a customer that once wished to furnish his house in your wares. While the staff was kind and genial, they were inattentive to their customer’s needs and steadfast in keeping every cent that they could get, rather than keeping the customer. In the current economic environment I wish you the best of luck and hope that you survive these conditions treating your patrons the way you do.

Sincerely,
MastrN8

Now, in this letter I may sound like a bitter consumer, but dammit, we deserve better! Do you honestly think that corps. like Williams-Sonoma actully give a crap about stuff like this? Hell no! Consumers are the ones that should be naming football stadiums! Consumers are the ones that one Nacsars and pay the driver’s salaries! consumers are the ones that put millions and millions of dollars in the pockets of CEOs! To these corporations it is us, the consumer, that keep them in business, not the other way around! CEOs are always stingy with raises, bonuses, and employee deserved perks, yet they are the first to boast that their company has reached some new height as far as profitability. Where does all that excess money go? Into the bank accounts of those CEOs, my friends. But who am I to complain? That is the American way, Go Capitalism!

Concerning Religion and the Constitution

Posted in Scattershot with tags , , , , on 16 October, 08 by MastrN8

I would like to clear a few things up. I was sitting at school this morning, minding my own business and trying to catch up on my seemingly never-ending pile of homework, when I received an email from someone who shall remain anonymous. I would like to share this email with you,

Dear Friends,
 
As I was listening to a news program recently, I watched in horror as Barack Obama made the statement with pride. . .’we are no longer a Christian nation; we are now a nation of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, . . .’  As with so many other statements I’ve heard him (and his wife) make, I never thought I’d see the day that I’d hear something like that from a presidential candidate in this nation.  To think our forefathers fought and died for the right for our nation to be a Christian nation–and to have this man say with pride that we are no longer that.  How far this nation has come from what our founding fathers intended it to be.

I hope that each of you will do what I’m doing now–send your concerns, written simply and sincerely, to the Christians on your email list.  With God’s help, and He is still in control of this nation and all else, we can show this man and the world in November that we are, indeed, still a Christian nation!

Please pray for our nation!

Now, this email disturbs me to no end. I feel that is is VERY offensive to non-Christians. First of all, regardless of your beliefs, or even who you support in the presidential race, I need to make one point EXTREMELY clear. Our forefathers DID NOT fight and die “for the right for our nation to be a Christian nation…”. I just wanted to clarify that the 1st amendment to the Constitution of the U.S. states that no one religion shall be practiced nationally. Here is a quote from the Constitution stating just that:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”

-1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

Secondly, I am sure many people will believe me to be a non-christian for arguing the inferences in the aforementioned email, or perhaps they will believe me to be a Barack Obama supporter, for those people, I would like to point out that my beliefs are irrelevant. I say that not to avoid those types of questions, but by stating that those beliefs are irrelevant, I am better able to stick to the case in point.

My  point is this: Our forefathers fought and died for a nation to be free of religious oppression. They fought for Muslims, Christians, Atheists, Satanists, those that believe that Clapton is God, and everyone in between, to worship whatever they wanted, when they wanted, and how they wanted. Our forefathers fought and died for the right to believe or not believe, to question, to express, and even to protest. This nation belongs to the people, not to just christian people. By the way, not only christian people died for this country, FYI.

Furthermore, while our forefathers did not believe in a state sanctioned religion, they did believe in God. Hence the phrase, God bless America. This does not mean that they are forcing religion. Of the above named religions, only atheism, which I believe can be called a religion since it is doctrinal in nature, does not believe in any God whatsoever. Satanists even believe in God. Satanists worship Lucifer who was cast down by God. Therefore, to believe in one, is to believe in the other.  

I hope that people will realize that it is okay that others do not believe in what you do. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but in most religions, being good-natured to those that treat you horribly, or those that are different, is the main tenant. Hate is not only looked down upon, but sinful. Our forefathers felt the same way; and felt it so strongly that they felt the need to write it down.

I’m not saying that I support any claims made by non-Christians or Obama, or for that matter, Christians and McCain. I am merely defending the Constitution. It may not be perfect but it’s the best we have. Everyone is fallible and we all will make mistakes, however I believe in this country and what it stands for. I am proud to live in a country where you can believe in what you want, practice the rituals that you want to practice, or even forsake all of that and move out if you want.

Aliens? Really?

Posted in Scattershot with tags , , , , , , , , on 14 October, 08 by MastrN8

Aliens are coming! No, I’m serious, they’re here! What the hell ever. I’m really sick of this crap. For those of you that haven’t heard, there have been many reports floating around for almost a year now about October 14th being a pivotal day among conspiracy theorists and it all began with Blossom.

No, I’m not talking about the ugly early nineties sit-com chick with the hot friend. There is an Aussie woman out there named Blossom Goodchild. She is a self-proclaimed alien liaison that wishes to spread the message that an alien ship 2000 miles in diameter is going to settle itself over the state of Alabama, which, correct me if I’m wrong, is smaller than 2000 miles, for three days. If these “reports” are true then this ship belonging to none other than the “Federation of Light” should appear in our skies today. Don’t worry I thought they were from Star Trek at first as well. I wish I were joking. Google it. It’s on youtube and several websites and blogs.

How, do you ask, did I, the rational, logical, and ever-cynical master of critical thinking come across this “astounding prophecy”? The answer, my friend, is boredom. I have never subscribed to any of this nonsense myself, but I do love to watch and listen to the non-stop parade of delusion that exists among this sub-culture of conspiracy theorists. For me, it is pure entertainment to listen to all of these crazy ideas from a small bloodline controlling the world’s governments, to the pyramids being designed and built by extraterrestrials. These people believe in the things they say so blindly and so steadfastly that I have to tip my hat to them. Is that what you’re going to stick with? Really? Then more power to you. It is reminiscentof the completely devout religious leaders that proclaimed armageddon and apocalypse as Y2K approached. I just sat back and watched as the deluded tried to backpedal and squirm theirway into making it look like they were right…in a way. Come on. You kidding me? You aren’t right when you say that the world is going to end and then claim that what you really prophesized was 9/11. Don’t tell me that you just misinterpreted the message, you suffered from a hind-sight bias. 

So here we are again, on the day that the Federation is due to show, and no news of anything in our skies that is 2000 miles wide. I am pretty sure it would make CNN. I have no doubt that in days, if not hours, there will not be a retraction of said prophecy, but some magical, convoluted, and sad explanation of why either non-believers like myself cannot see what is so clear to those that do believe, or why the aliens decided against coming at all. These theorists say that they are so against indoctrinated governments that control day-to-day actions but what they fail to realize is that these theories that they come up with are as old as time and we’ve seen them before. It’s called religion! Religion, the oldest form of government indoctrinated in us a sense of faith and exiled or cast down those that questioned and reasoned things out logically. Whether you see a pattern in a tortilla that resembles Jesus, or you take a picture of the moon and see monuments left from ancient civilizations, it all boils down to one thing. Fear.

The point I’m trying to make is that people don’t want to be alone. Being alone is scary. So how do we compensate? We invent things that make us more comfortable and better able to deal with that fear. A belief in God, especially a belief that God is with us all the time, is a perfect example. Instead of using religion this way, some people find comfort believing that beings exist out there that are going through the same trials and tribulations as us, only 4 billion light-years away. And so be it, do what you will. The only thing to remember is to not push your beliefs on others, which, I must say, the alien conspiracists are much better at than the religious folk. Since religion cannot present any blurry, doctored-up, photo-shop images, they are left little choice.  

So, Alabamans, as you stare into the sky tonight, remember, whether you believe or not, the aliens probably exist on some other plane of existence; or they may only appear to those that have certain peaks on their brainwaves; or perhaps they decided that earthlings are still in their intellectual infancy and aren’t prepared to witness they’re greatness; in any case, don’t be too disappointed, after all you are not alone. The catholic church has used these same excuses for people that witness “miracles”.

I, for one, intend to stay tuned to the blogs and youtube videos and enjoy the vast train wreck of disillusionment pile up. It may be funny to me, but I still have that one tear making its way down my cheek knowing how many hopes and dreams are destroyed by the advent of reality.

Bless you all and never give up hope of first contact.

That’s why my next computer will be…

Posted in Scattershot with tags , on 2 October, 08 by MastrN8

     So a couple of weeks ago Microsoft launched an ad campaign that was intended to mop up the bloodbath of negativity that gushed forth when Microsoft put Vista on the market. These new ads showcase a number of people that look like they are innovators in their respective fields. I personally don’t recognize any of them but I of course don’t get out much, so please pardon my ignorance. At first I thought the commercial sent a good statement claiming that the PC user is not endangered. I, however, must admit some bias here. I have been a PC user ever since childhood, well, since the Apple IIe got outdated anyway. After having ruminated on it a while though, I realized that Microsoft came across as desperate. You don’t see Apple using Windows’ ads as a way to attack the competition. They usually come up with fresh ideas and make dynamic, even iconic commercials…..now.

This was not the case 10-15 years ago. There is definitely a reason why “a community of more than a billion individuals” are dedicated PC users, according to Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” ads. I remember a time in the not so distant past when a Mac was worth less than a paperweight although priced higher than a PC. Programs, and I imagine their writers, just seemed to favor PCs. Don’t ask me why but if you were on a Mac in the late 80’s early 90’s, you were considered lame. PC had Windows! People could multitask and if you had a modem that ran 28.8 kbps you were the shit! Mac, well, it was just an abbreviation for some kind of apple, I think. Then came the iPod. Oh happy day! I recall some people shunning the technology at first because of who produced it; I, however, also remembering thinking to myself, “Holy crap! I can carry  around every cd I own in my pocket? Where do I sign?”. And so, the dicotomy  began…

When I first met my wife, we had a half-joking, half-serious argument about this division amongst computer users. She grew up in a Mac family. My first question was how she got through school without falling in love with windows. She just shrugged her shoulders and said that she just adjusted. With so many schools that have Windows labs and so few with Mac labs, it’s a wonder how people can get through their lives without touching a PC. The truth is, they can’t. Windows seems to work best at work. In other words, having used my wife’s Mac many times, I realized that it is the perfect system for being creative and making some really cool things. iphoto is, hands down, so much incredibly better than anything Win has available, without getting third-party software and I think anymore that itunes is a standard download to have. That being said, Microsoft Office Suite, can blow anything that Apple can come up with, as far as work documentation goes, out of the water.

Which brings me back to the ad campaigns. For the aforementioned reasons do we see PC in a tie, and a young hip Justin Long as a Mac. I personally love those ads. They crack me up. Even before the Vista fiasco, Microsoft was being criticized, and perhaps rightly so, for lack of user friendliness. Whether PC user or Mac user, you must admit, Macs are just easier to use. After Leopard came out, my in-laws purchased it for their Mac and after having used it, I was sold. Vista might not be as bad as claimed, personally, I think it was the public’s knee-jerk reaction of seeing XP radically changed that caused the whole mess, but Leopard is definitely easier to navigate, the menus and backgrounds look cooler, and the time capsule feature is definitely worth looking into. Although, I will miss my multiple buttoned mouse with a wheel that can scroll down pages, I think Apple has converted me. Now if I can just afford them….

Yet, I again digress, the whole point I am coming to; the main intention that I had for writing this much-too-long diatribe; the initial point that I have been avoiding this whole time is that the new “I’m a PC” were created, in part, on Macs. O’ the sweet smell of irony. Understandably, I’m a layman when it comes to computers, advertising and marketing, however, if it were my company, I would want a commercial that shone with the golden glory that is the product that I made, through and through. I realize that Microsoft probably hired a company to make it and that company probably outsourced some of the work to still others, it takes a village, I get that, but how embarrassing! Now I know what you’re thinking, how do you know it’s true. Good Question, my imaginary readers! In fact, it wasn’t until I was watching Adult Swim the other night that I heard about this. I, of course, not taking anything Adult Swim tells me as Gospel, I immediately conducted some research, not a lot mind you, I do have a life. I found out that yes, it is true that some of the images in the ad and posted on Microsoft Corps.’s website were created with a Mac.
Here are a couple of links:

http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20080919/hi-im-a-pc-and-i-was-made-on-a-mac/

http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9115120&intsrc=hm_list

I urge you, imaginary reader, to decide for yourself. Which platform do you like better? Does it matter? Some say no, as long as they can still get their daily infusion of porn everyday.

 

Photo courtesy of photobucket.com Thanks mp2791!

http://media.photobucket.com/image/pc%20vs%20mac/mp2791/1188513251739.jpg?o=93

Words fail me.

Posted in Scattershot with tags on 29 September, 08 by MastrN8

Today I have little to say. I’m writing this post just to keep up on it. I am really trying to make this blog updated as best as possible. I have a couple of drafts that I have yet to post. One of which is extremely hard for me to write; it is a lament for two of my favorite entertainers that have recently fallen. I’ll continue to work on it and hopefully post it this week. I apologize to you, my imaginary fans, for at the moment words fail me.

Hounddog banned? Chalk another one up to ignorant retards!

Posted in Scattershot with tags , , , , on 23 September, 08 by MastrN8

I just saw this on imdb.com, it sickens me. The link will be at the bottom of this post. I just read that Hounddog, Dakota Fanning’s new movie, has been pulled from over 5,000 AMC theaters nationwide. The cause for this action? Certain family organizations raised hell about a particular scene in the movie that depicts Fanning being raped. Now I don’t want to ever think about a nine-year-old being raped, let alone see it, however, is it fair that a very small population of people is allowed to control what the rest of the country can or cannot see? According to WENN, “Officials at Concerned Women For America are leading the charge to boycott the movie…”. Does anyone else find this appalling? The article goes on to say that the great state of North Carolina has investigated the claims that the scene constitutes “sexual activity” of a minor and found that no laws have been broken. The director has a great quote in the article, saying that it is sad that people that haven’t even seen the movie are willing to immediately speak out against it.

I’ll let you decide for yourselves but it really aggravates me not only that people are so violently against art (no matter how distasteful they find it) whenever it breaches an area that they are uncomfortable with, but to also automatically dismiss something outright at the mere mention of something that you find disagreeable. If you don’t think you’ll like it, don’t fucking watch it, but don’t take that right away from others! That’s what terrorists want to do. The Germans, Russians, Chinese, and the Al Qaeda all want, or have wanted, to control what their citizens see, think, and feel based on their narrow views of what they feel is or isn’t appropriate. This country has fought too many wars for us to bow down to those that feel something is bad for America based on what they have inferred, not even seen, and deemed to be inappropriate.

Shame on you Concerned Women of America for not letting the public decide for themselves what is or isn’t appropriate. I have not seen the film myself, thanks to you, so it very well might be a piece of garbage, however without the chance to formulate my own opinion, I might as well live in 1930’s Germany. Shame on you as well AMC for bowing down to those that do not stand for the American ideal of freedom of speech. By letting them win you have succumbed to a terrorist attack and let the few dictate what the many should be allowed to do for themselves.

Censorship sucks. What will you take away next? Who are you to decide what’s good?

http://www.imdb.com/news/ns0000002/#ni0571515

Personally, not being much of a Fanning fan, I didn’t really care to see this movie. In light of current events however, I’d like nothing better than to watch it. Thanks CWA! Wish I could find one of your picket lines to cross!