Yes, yes, I know the commercials are kind of annoying, but I think I’d never actually seen one of them before I’d visited Jared for the first time. Cynthia had gotten jewelry at Jared (The Galleria of Jewelry!) in the past, and been happy with them, so that’s where I went.
I got Cynthia some jewelry at Jared as a gift. They were friendly, and helpful, and I gave no more thought to it beyond that.
Then, last year, Cynthia lost the jewelry. It was just an accident, these things happen. I’ve certainly lost my share of things and I know how frustrating it is. I felt bad for Cynthia feeling bad more than I was bothered that she lost something I got her. Regardless, it is always heartbreaking to lose something with sentimental value.
So, I called Jared’s customer care. Explained the situation, asked if they had a replacement. They said this:
Jared: We’re showing that item as having been discontinued. It shows in our system as being recalled and returned to the vendor [that made them for Jared].
Me: Ah, well OK, so at least maybe they still exist, can you contact the vendor and see if it’s possible to still get one from them?
Jared: No, I’m sorry, if they’re marked as being recalled, we can’t do that.
Me: Oh well, can you at least let me know the vendor and I’ll see if I can work something out with them? I can certainly get other jewelry for my wife, but I’d like an exact replacement, if possible.
Jared: I’m sorry, it’s our policy to not disclose our vendors to customers.
Me: I see, so there’s no way for me to get a replacement, even though it’s reasonable to assume that one exists somewhere?
Jared: I’m sorry, I can’t help you.
Grargh! That’s a stupid policy. I tried calling a couple times, and tried going up the chain to managers, but didn’t have any luck. I can understand, as a middle-man, not wanting to give away business, but this was ridiculous.
So, that was frustrating, but well, it’s their policy, there’s nothing I could do about it. It’s a stupid way to treat a customer, but it’s their right.
Months later, in mid-December, I thought, “well, maybe I’ll give it one more try…” I contacted customer care, and I got Dennis, who was the total opposite of the blockading folks I had talked to previously. Things went way better this time. I explained my story, and he put me on hold for a bit. When he came back, he had this to say:
Dennis: So I know it shows as recalled, but I do actually see 1 left among all our stores. Usually this is just because someone didn’t update inventory right, but I called the store, and they actually have it! Now, in Customer Care we can’t initiate a transfer ourselves, the stores have to request it. But, they are going to do so and have it sent to your local Jared in Cary. Since the holidays are coming up, they may get a little slammed, try giving them a call next week to see if they got the transfer request, and they should let you know when it comes in.
SCORE! He took my number, and assured me that the item would have my name on it, and the store should be able to call me when it got in. (ominous music starts…)
I let it sit over the weekend, and called the local Jared the next week. They said they didn’t have the item in yet, but they would contact me as soon as it did. They reiterated what Dennis said, that during the holidays things get pretty busy, but transfers usually come through in a week or two, often sooner.
<a little more time passes…>
Needless to say, between the holidays, a server crash at work that took a week to repair, and some other emergency stuff that came up, it wasn’t until this week that I even had a thought to talk to Jared. I gave the local store a call yesterday, asking if it had gotten in yet, and they said… (ominous music comes to a crescendo…)
Jared: Oh, that? Uhh… It got here on December 16th, and sat here since then. We got a request two days ago that it was needed for a customer service issue in Florida and sent it to them. We don’t have it anymore.
You (customer care and Cary Jared) assured me it had my name on it, and that you’d contact me as soon as it’s there. WHAT THE F**K!?
Needless to say, I was pretty much speechless. I pushed them for more details, but they didn’t really have more. The guy I spoke to was a salesperson, not the one who deals with transfers, so he didn’t know much. He did say he would try to find a photo of it and see if he could find the same thing in their special order catalogs, since sometimes they’ll get a different vendor to make the same items.
I still had Dennis’s extension, so I hung up with the local Jared and called him instead. His demeanor was entirely different this time around, much more like the first time I talked to Jared customer care. He told me it was too late, that the item was “lost,” and that there wasn’t anything he could do about it. He said they may be able to make it as a custom item, or if I wanted to go to the store and flip through their catalogs for special orders (ie, what the guy at Jared Cary was doing for me), there might be a match there.
In other words, if I want a replacement, I can have one custom made.
*sigh*Share on Facebook
(Well, not literally.)
As you may or may not know, I’ve been participating in Movember. You may not know, because I’ve been pretty slack about “marketing” my lip-caterpillar. So, like a kid who does his homework on the bus on the way to school, I’m gonna DOUBLE DOWN and try to get all those juicy donations on the last day of Movember.
Here’s my proposal: If you are the top contributor to my Movember page, I will shave my moustache tomorrow however you tell me to. Options are limited to what I can perform with my pretty sweet facial hair trimmer system thingy.
- You must be the top donator.
- If there is a tie, the first person to donate that amount wins.
- I will notify you tomorrow by 3PM EST if you have won.
- I will post pictures by Friday morning.
So GO TO MY MOVEMBER PAGE NOW and bid, and help raise money for cancer research!Share on Facebook
Note: this is all my personal opinion. I have no special insight into the team other that being a fan that has learned a lot about hockey in the 5 years he’s been watching it, and has watched this Hurricanes team closely in that time. Cynthia and I have talked about this stuff a lot on our own, but generally have attempted to avoid the craziness bouncing around the net where it comes to Maurice leaving.
I haven’t said too much about it before other than the occasional snarky Twitter post, because the mental exhaustion from the “Mo Must Go” drumbeat was too frustrating to put together coherent thoughts, but with Muller coming in I have a chance to start fresh, just like the team. =)
I think Muller coming in will give us the kick in the pants we need, or at least a good chance for it, and I do think it is good that he has been at multiple levels as a player, captain, and coach and that it will help bring in some new perspective… but I don’t think that’s actually what went wrong in the locker room, or that it was necessarily Maurice’s fault. (Certainly not only Maurice’s fault.)
The Mentorship Vacuum
I think that when a lot of our veterans rolled off the roster, we ended up with a lack of mentors.
Now, I am definitely not saying that Staal is unable to be captain, or unable to lead. Only that we had a lot of even-keeled veterans on our team, and we don’t have as much of that anymore. Many of our most “veteran” players are really players that should only be coming into their prime now: Ward, Staal, even Harrison and Pitkanen. Notice anything about that list? Harrison is 29, just getting into what should be his best years as a d-man. Ward is 27. Staal is 27. Pitkanen is 28. They’re good players, and they’ve seen their fair share, but they’re not yet at the place that someone like Brind’amour was at, or Wesley.
I think about my job, and how as we slowly grow, our senior architect is giving me the occasional project to run, rather than just working with me on requirements, or letting me just run with whatever takes my fancy. Someday, the guys who started the company are going to want to retire, and I’m gonna be the one who is less responsible for coding, and more responsible for organizing the junior developers, and frankly, that’s a little scary. I like coding, and I don’t really like managing people. But I know that someone has to do it, and when it comes to it, I’ll give it a shot because I like the folks I work with, and I want our company to succeed. If you can’t grow in what you do, you stagnate.
So Who’s Gonna Be That Guy?
Is it crazy to think that not enough people on the team have stepped in to be that guy willing to take on a little more responsibility? To make sure a few of the young guys are getting the attention they need to feel like they’re an important part of the organization? It’s not enough to score goals and feel good about that — the opinions of your peer group, and the collaboration that goes on in a team that works well together matters just as much as your skill. It’s not enough to make Staal, Sutter, and Gleason bear the brunt of that as captains. Hockey relies so much on nuance, and atitude, and the little things that make that tiny push over the edge which makes you better than the other team. If you’re at the NHL level, you already have the skills. What keeps you going is your ability to be motivated a bit more than the guys on the other team, and to make sure your teammates are with you on it.
In a good team, everyone steps in to help out those around him. When something’s not working, it’s not just the coach, or the captain, or the assistant captains, or that one guy in a scoring slump, or even one system or the other. All of those things have to interact together, and be working, for the team to be above .500 and have a chance at the playoffs. Could Maurice have been too stuck in his style to be able to find a way to get the players motivated? Maybe a little. Do I think Maurice was the problem? Not really. Or, that is to say, not any more than anyone else.
I feel like as a team that can’t afford to spend to the cap, we’re less likely to have a large number of veterans filling our roster, so we have to work harder to have that baseline that keeps a team motivated.
Here’s the New Coach
Bringing in a new coach doesn’t automatically make players better team leaders, but rethinking everything may help our players rethink what we really need to be successful.
I feel bad for Maurice having to go through getting kicked out a second time, but he’s a good guy and I’m confident he can land on his feet. I’ll miss his post-game interview snark, and his easy manner, but I’m also hopeful for the future, and looking forward to what Muller will bring. My impressions so far are that he’s solid, and will focus on the right things.
Now about those playoffs…
EDIT: I mentioned this on Twitter; a good example of the mentorship I’m talking about is… (hmm) Erik Cole with Jeff Skinner last year. Everyone talked about how he took Skinner under his wing and really helped him get comfortable in the NHL.Share on Facebook
I hate coffee.
Or, at least, I thought I did. It turns out that it was only because I didn’t know what I liked. Travel teaches you a lot of things, the most important being that everyone does things differently. There are many wonderful and profound things about traveling, but the one I’m going to write about today is pretty mundane: I do, in fact, love coffee — just not the way we typically prepare it here in America. =)
It Started With Starbucks
Starbucks is the gateway drug. Is it good coffee? Not really. But oh man, it is candy. I still enjoy a Starbucks mocha, but I don’t pretend it’s the same thing as a proper Italian espresso, or a nice Turkish coffee. Starbucks is more like Taco Bell. I don’t delude myself that it’s Mexican food, but sometimes I crave it all the same.
Next Was Travel
In the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to travel to a lot of interesting places. having come to the Starbucks-driven conclusion that maybe I would like some kinds of coffee, I had started trying coffee when I visited other countries.
Cynthia and I went to Brazil with a friend and the coffee in our hotel was spectacular. Sweet and a little bit chocolaty and not at all bitter. I was visiting Germany for the OpenNMS User Conference and a coworker and I would get latte macchiatos and they were great as well — silky smooth. In Spain I tried a caffÃ¨ macchiato and it was tasty too, like a good dark chocolate. In Italy, we tried caffe con panna, a wonderful mix of espresso and sweet whipped cream. A great little deli right here in Fuquay-Varina of all places, Nil’s, makes wonderful Turkish coffee, thick and sweet.
Since getting acclimated to coffees I like, I’ve tried drip coffees thinking “Coffee is an acquired taste, right? Maybe I’m just used to it now.” Nope, still not in the same universe as what I make at home now, much less the wide variety of wonderful coffees I’ve just mentioned. Making it myself is not only better, but it’s extremely consistent. It’s hard to make a bad cup if you’ve got good beans.
So What Was Different?
So let me start out by saying, I am still in no way an expert. I can only say what I’ve found that I like, in my quest for coffee that fits my tastes.
I Googled around a lot and found a number of coffe nerd blogs and forums, and the consensus seems to be that the reasons I prefer European coffee are twofold:
First, the average espresso machine in Europe is better maintained than here in the US. There are certainly plenty of good coffee shops in America with people painstakingly crafting good coffee, but for every one of those, there are 5 with poorly-maintained equipment, or a barista who doesn’t know the craft as well. When I was traveling, though, I found that I could walk into any random place with coffee and it was well-made.
Second, European roasters tend to not roast their beans as dark as US roasters do. This turned out to be the real key.
Making Coffee Myself
With that knowledge in hand, I looked into what it would take to make my own coffee.
First, how do I brew? To make a proper brew without your own espresso machine, the consensus I’ve found is to use either a classic French press or a new contender on the block, the AeroPress. The AeroPress has the advantage that it’s super cheap, and makes a very smooth cup of coffee. Score.
Second, what do I brew? Probably my favorite coffees I’ve had were the Brazilian cafezinho, and the espresso we had in Italy. The first thing I found was Counter Culture’s Toscano, a Tuscan espresso roast very much like what we had in Italy. Cynthia got me the AeroPress and some beans and I was in business. The Toscano turned out to be pretty darn good. Really smooth and good flavor, not bitter at all.
Since I got that first bag of beans, a new coffee shop has opened up in Pittsboro (where I work) – Red Star Coffee. They do a really good job of making espresso, and they get their beans from Bean Traders, who roast a wide variety of excellent beans, and, like Counter Culture, are local. Even better, they have a Brazilian roast, and it’s heavenly. Finding fresh, good beans that haven’t been burned to Hell has definitely been the most important part of this.
I’ve also gotten a burr grinder, which either through the placebo effect, or actual differences in grinding, seems to make my coffee taste better. =)
So That’s It
Nothing groundbreaking. Just a taste for something I thought I had no taste for. I hope you enjoyed my journey into coffee love.Share on Facebook
I have a problem. I am physically incapable of scanning past certain types of comments on certain SBNation sites. I really hate to lose the 99.9% of comments that are awesome just because of my inability to look past the 0.1% that frustrate me, and I hate myself more for responding to those people when I should know better.
So, I finally put my coding where my mouth is, and made a browser extension plugin for Google Chrome and Safari that can filter out users on any SBNation blog in the comments section, automatically. =)
It’s non-destructive (if you remove someone from the black list, they’ll pop right back in the display), and I was careful to make it as high-performance as possible. It runs entirely in your browser session, and does not touch anything other than the display of the site as you see it.
It is open-source, you can check out the code at GitHub. It supports Google Chrome, and Safari. (Tested on Chrome 12 and Safari 5.0.)
The official page for it is here.Share on Facebook
While there was technically one “home” game in Helsinki, tonight is the night for a real home game!
On game days, we usually play our “hockey” playlist, which is made up of all the songs I’ve managed to capture with Shazam on my iPhone.
A few folks have asked for our list so far, so… here it is! If you know of anything I’ve missed, please let me know, and I’ll add it.
Update 2010-10-29: Added “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Get Free”
Update 2010-10-30: Added “All These Things That I’ve Done,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Club Can’t Handle Me,” “Drive*,” “Heart In My Hands,” “Let U Go,” “Like a G6,” “Mama Said Knock You Out,” “Meant to Live,” “Shout,” “Smile,” “That’s Not My Name,” “Walk This Way,”
Update 2010-11-24: Added “All I Want,” “American Bad Ass,” “Be Faithful,” “Brimful of Asha,” “Bye Bye Bye,” “California Gurls,” “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Cobrastyle,” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Explosion,” “Gimme Stitches,” “Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight,” “Gotta Get Thru This,” “Hands,” “Hash Pipe,” “Hate to Say I Told You So,” “Here Comes the Hotstepper,” “Hey Hey Hey,” “Hey, Soul Sister,” “Hold On Loosely,” “Kick in the Teeth,” “Let Me Clear My Throat,” “Let Me Hear You Scream,” “Lucky,” “No Way but the Hard Way,” “Obsession,” “Oh Yeah,” “Pipeline,” “Right Above It,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll (Part 2),” “Shake Me,” “Shout,” “Situations,” “Stop!,” “Take It to the Limit,” “Travelin’ Band,” “Uprising,”
|Unknown*||Drive (Cars Cover)|
|38 Special||Hold On Loosely|
|AC/DC||Back in Black|
|AC/DC||Who Made Who|
|Airbourne||No Way but the Hard Way|
|Airiel Down||Hurricane Warning|
|A Day to Remember||All I Want|
|Alter Bridge||Rise Today|
|Ash||Burn Baby Burn|
|Ashley Parker Angel||Let U Go|
|Billy Idol||Rebel Yell|
|Black Eyed Peas||I Gotta Feeling|
|Blue Ã–yster Cult||Burnin’ for You|
|Bruce Springsteen||The Rising|
|Casper||Casper Cha-Cha Slide|
|Charm City Devils||Let’s Rock-N-Roll (Endless Road)|
|The Chemical Brothers||Galvanize|
|Cornershop||Brimful of Asha|
|Creedence Clearwater Revival||Run Through the Jungle|
|Creedence Clearwater Revival||Travelin’ Band|
|Daniel Bedingfield||Gotta Get Thru This|
|The Darkness||One Way Ticket|
|Disturbed||Down with the Sickness|
|Disturbed||Shout (a.k.a. Shout 2000)|
|DJ Aligator Project||The Whistle Song|
|DJ Kool||Let Me Clear My Throat|
|Dropkick Murphys||Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight|
|Eli “Paperboy” Reed||Explosion|
|Eve 6||Think Twice|
|Far East Movement||Like a G6|
|Fatboy Slim||Right Here, Right Now|
|Fatman Scoop (feat. Faith Evans)||Be Faithful|
|Flo Rida||Club Can’t Handle Me|
|Foo Fighters||Gimme Stitches|
|Foo Fighters||No Way Back|
|Foo Fighters||The Last Song|
|Gary Glitter||Rock ‘n’ Roll (Part 2)|
|Georgia Satellites||Hippy Hippy Shake|
|The Gregg Allman Band||I’m No Angel|
|Guns N’ Roses||Welcome to the Jungle|
|Hawk Nelson||Bring Em Out|
|Hinder (feat. Mick Mars)||Take It to the Limit|
|The Hives||Hate to Say I Told You So|
|The Hives||Tick Tick Boom|
|Hot Hot Heat||Goodnight Goodnight|
|Ini Kamoze||Here Comes the Hotstepper|
|The Isley Brothers||Shout|
|Jet||She’s a Genius|
|Jet Black Stare||Ready to Roll|
|John Denver||Thank God I’m A Country Boy|
|Journey||Any Way You Want It|
|Junior||Stand Up & Holler (Carolina Hurricanes)|
|Katy Perry (feat. Snoop Dogg)||California Gurls|
|Kevin Rudolf||Let It Rock|
|Kid Rock||American Bad Ass|
|The Killers||All These Things That I’ve Done|
|KISS||Lick It Up|
|The Knack||My Sharona|
|Lil Wayne (feat. Drake)||Right Above It|
|LL Cool J||Mama Said Knock You Out|
|Michael Franti & Spearhead||Hey Hey Hey|
|Michael Jackson||Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough|
|New Found Glory||Situations|
|Nickelback||Burn It to the Ground|
|Nine Inch Nails||The Hand that Feeds|
|‘N-SYNC||Bye Bye Bye|
|Ozzy Osbourne||Crazy Train|
|Ozzy Osbourne||Let Me Hear You Scream|
|Papa Roach||Kick in the Teeth|
|Plain White T’s||Our Time Now|
|The Pointer Sisters||I’m So Excited|
|Primus||Jerry Was a Race Car Driver|
|Queen||We Will Rock You|
|Rage Against the Machine||Renegades of Funk|
|Ram Jam||Black Betty|
|The Ramones||Beat On the Brat|
|The Ramones||Blitzkrieg Bop|
|The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus||Face Down|
|Rednex||Cotton Eye Joe|
|Rob Base/DJ EZ Rock||It Takes Two|
|Run DMC (feat. Aerosmith)||Walk This Way|
|Saliva||Click Click Boom|
|Sarah Vaughan||Whatever Lola Wants|
|Scorpions||Rock You Like a Hurricane|
|Seether||Rise Above This|
|Shinedown||I Dare You|
|Stevie Ray Vaughan/Dick Dale||Pipeline|
|Stompin’ Tom Connors||The Hockey Song|
|Superchunk||Punch Me Harder|
|Switchfoot||Meant to Live|
|Teddybears (feat. Mad Cobra)||Cobrastyle|
|Ted Nugent||Cat Scratch Fever|
|Theory of a Deadman||So Happy|
|The Ting Tings||Hands|
|The Ting Tings||That’s Not My Name|
|Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers||Don’t Do Me Like That|
|Train||Hey, Soul Sister|
|Trust Company||Heart In My Hands|
|Twisted Sister||I Wanna Rock|
|Tye Banks||Carolina Hurricanes|
|Village People||Macho Man|
|The Vines||Get Free|
|The Zambonis||Great ZamboniÂ® of Devotion|
|Zombie Nation||Kernkraft 400|
* Does anyone know who does this cover? I couldn’t find it anywhere.Share on Facebook
I’ve been planning on writing for quite some time now about our time in Helsinki. Needless to say, it was freakin’ awesome! We had a wonderful time hanging out with the other Caniacs on the trip, having lunch with the team, meeting some Finnish friends, and, of course, winning both games! Someday I’ll put together a full report.
In the meantime, I finally had some time to start working on a proper site for Jussi4ASG. When we get it filled out a little more, I’ll post the design.Share on Facebook
It’s hard to look at Twitter or FaceBook without being reminded of the events of 9/11, and their impact on our society. It is, of course, honorable and important to remember those who have fallen, and to respect those who were and are heroes from that day and now, but it’s hard to look at all those “never forget!” messages without feeling a little conflicted.
The frustrating thing is that we have forgotten. There are so many things we have forgotten since 9/11, it’s hard to believe just how much has changed in 9 short years.
- We have forgotten the freedom to live our lives without fear of wiretapping without just cause.
- We have forgotten the fourth amendment to the Constitution (unless you’re rich).
- We have forgotten that no matter the ends, it does not justify the means.
- We have forgotten basic human dignity (and common sense).
Who is complicit in these things? I know I am. What have I done so far to change it? I elected a President whose rhetoric convinced me he could change things, and instead has perpetuated the policies that took these freedoms away in the name of security, while pretended to make things better and while leaving thousands of “non-combat” troops and contractors in the area.
I guess perhaps it’s time I stop saying never forget, and start saying, now I remember.Share on Facebook
So, in theory, Google Calendar’s “Sports” section has a calendar for the Charlotte Checkers. Unfortunately, it’s listed under “ECHL” still, and has nothing for the 2010-2011 season. So, I went ahead and made a calendar that you can import.
You can download/link to it here — if you notice any problems, let me know.Share on Facebook
So Cynthia and I have decided that it’s really time to do something about our health. We’ve attempted losing weight a number of times, using Diet Power, which is a great tool for tracking calories, nutrition, etc., but in the end, like most diets, we gained it all back.
A friend of ours told us about Dr. Fuhrman’s books, “Eat to Live” and “Eat for Health” and we decided to take the plunge.
To say it’s not your normal diet would be an understatement. Like most diets that really work, it’s not a diet, it’s something you should practice for the rest of your life.
The books don’t really focus on counting calories, reducing fat, or any of the normal diet things, they focus on only one simple thing: eat foods with a high nutrition-to-calorie ratio. When you turn everything around and look at it from that perspective, it gets a whole lot easier to know what you should eat, not just what you can eat. I know that when I was dieting previously, a significant part of my daily thought was how many calories I just ate, how many calories I will be eating, and most importantly, “if I have this bad thing right now, I can make up for it later.”
When you’re calorie-counting, you can do that kind of stuff — and lose weight if you’re careful and work hard at it — but in the end, you’re still doing no good for your body.
Those kinds of tricks are not so easy when you are actually eating “nutritarian,” as Dr. Furhman has coined the phrase. The books do a good job of hammering the science into you. Thousands of studies, and patients, who have reversed things like diabetes, or even lupus, just by eating lots of veggies, nuts, and fruits.
So, for the last month, Cynthia and I have been basically eating vegan. Will I eat vegan forever? No. I still love meat, and I intend to eat it occasionally in the future, but first I want to get to my target weight. The evidence points to small amounts of meat (less than 15% of calories or so) in the diet having no measurable effects on lifespan; the important thing is getting all the nutrients I wasn’t getting before by focusing on vegetables. It’s hard not to eat all those things that are bad for me (that I love), but I’m finding it’s surprisingly easier than any other “diet” I’ve been on before. Maybe because I’m much more aware of the health repercussions of it, maybe because I’ve been eating so many vegetables I’ve lost the cravings a little, I don’t know. At least this time, it’s doable, and I am much more confident that in the end, I can keep the weight off.
We technically started this a little over a month ago, on July 21st, but that first week I was at Dev-Jam, and I wasn’t really eating properly yet. If you take Dev-Jam out of the equation, I’ve lost 15 pounds in a month, and it’s been steady. Not just 4 or 5 pounds at the beginning and then a hard slog through losing weight the rest of the month. I’m stuffing myself with veggies, coming away from dinner full (if not always satisified), and the pounds are just flying off. The exhilaration of how (relatively) easy it’s been this time around is making it easier to stay on it.Share on Facebook