October 27, 2009

Why You Got Zero Stars

To make a long story short, I paid for something and you didn't give it to me.

To make a long story TL;DR, here we go...

I own an LG Dare. I went through many thrilling adventures with Verizon to make the Dare a successful part of my pocket arsenal. It's got its quirks but I'm mostly satisified with the device. One of the features I particularly enjoy is the USB data cable which not only allows me to transfer files from the phone to my PC (and vice versa), but also serves as a recharging mechanism. Sounds pretty efficient if you ask me. My computer is on at work all day, so I never had an excuse for a drained phone battery, and the once I got the hang of the data transfers, I was packing the phone with music and photos. Realistically though, to have a multi-purpose tool means I'm multi-fucked if I lose it. Inevitably, I did.

Verizon sells replacement data cables for $20.00, which to me is completely obscene. They really should be giving these cables away to their customers. Without the cable, my phone battery dies, and Verizon won't be able make any money off my paperweight. It behooves them to make sure I have a full charge at all times, making it more likely that I'll make billable calls or texts. Maybe they think I'm so lazy that I'm more likely to buy a whole new phone rather than look for or replace my cable. Either way, they are doing it wrong, and I'm not going to kowtow to that.

My quest for sticking it to the man soon brought me to eBay, where I knew I could get a similar knock-off for a fraction of the price. It didn't take long before I found an auction item listed by thecellshop (aka TheCellShop.net). They had high ratings and are OK USA! They offered not only the USB data cable, but a whole bundle that also included a wall charger and a car charger. The photo was generic, but the listing was pretty specific: "Home+Car Charger+USB Data Cable for LG Dare VX9700 NEW." After shipping, it would come to less than $7. I knew I'd have to wait a little bit, but I was willing to be patient in order to undermine Verizon. I chose the "But it Now" option and paid immediately. That was August 18th. The item was prepared for shipping the next day.

A few days later I received confirmation that the item shipped. But what they described as my item was not the same as in the auction listing.

Dear Rollie,

This email has been sent to confirm that your order from TheCellShop.net has shipped!

Details of this order are as follows.

- Invoice # 7643323
- "Cell Phone Car Charger for Motorola RAZR2 V9 V9m V9x", "New Home Wall Charger for Motorola RAZR2 v9 v9m v9x Q9h", "NEW PC SYNC PC USB Data Cable for BlackBerry Curve 8900"

Your order has now left our warehouse and is on its way to you.

Also attached was a shipment tracking number which did not work. And somewhere along the line, my LG Dare turned into a Motorola RAZR and/or a BlackBerry Curve. I figured it was possible these items were all compatible, but since they didn't explain it explicitly, I needed to double check.

The DHL tracking number provided in the email does not work. Also, I want to make sure the correct item is being shipped here. The Ebay auction I won is:

Home+Car Charger+USB Data Cable for LG Dare VX9700 NEW - eBay390061843697

But in your shipping email, it says

"Cell Phone Car Charger for Motorola RAZR2 V9 V9m V9x", "New Home Wall Charger for Motorola RAZR2 v9 v9m v9x Q9h", "NEW PC SYNC PC USB Data Cable for BlackBerry Curve 8900"

Are these all compatible items, or is it a mistake?

I immediately received an auto-reply explaining that they would respond to my email within 1-2 days. The message also stressed how badly they would like to "EARN" a positive 5-star rating in their eBay feedback.

Sure enough, the next day I received a response.

The item that you ordered is the Home+Car Charger+USB Data Cable for LG Dare VX9700 NEW. Since your order is under $11 or weighs under a pound, there is no tracking number. Your item did ship though, and should arrive any day now.

I can deal with the tracking number policy (why send me a non-functional one then?), but they didn't exactly address my compatibility question. "Any day" soon arrived, confirming my suspicions.

The USB Data Cable included in the package works fine as a charger, but does not function as an actual USB Data Cable. The phone and the computer would normally auto detect when I connect the cable, but now I get a "Connection Failed" error. Is there something wrong with this cable, or are these not really meant for data?

I now had three ways to resuscitate my comatose phone, but still no way to transfer data. My needs only being halfway satisfied means my needs are not satisfied.

Three days later, a response.

I will reship one to you asap.

We want to earn your positive feedback with 5 stars on eBay. If you have any concerns let me know right away so I can take care of them before leaving any feedback.

While I appreciated the desire to correct their error at their expense, it probably wasn't the best time to remind me of the eBay feedback again. I held off my star clicking again, but at this point, the pressure was really on for cellphoneshop.

Almost two weeks later, another package arrived. It was the same cable. I had no choice but to resort to CAPS.

I received the new cable and it is the same exact problem. These cables charge but will NOT transfer any data via the USB input, making it useless to me. I looked up the part number and "MOVR 8 USB" refers to a product intended for a MOTOROLA phone. I DON'T HAVE A MOTOROLA--I have an LG phone. I questioned that in my original email to customer service and I was assured that the product arriving would be for an LG. IT'S NOT. Your ebay auction clearly listed "USB Data Cable for LG Dare VX9700 NEW" and that's why you got my money in the first place. Now it's been nearly a month and I still don't have everything that was advertised. Either your company is misrepresenting the products in its auctions or there has been a lot of miscommunication.

Last chance.

Maybe I shouldn't have offered them a last chance. Maybe there shouldn't have been a second or first chance either. Was this my own fault? Should I have just gone to Verizon in the first place? Was I being punished for trying to take the cheap way out? Was that month of waiting worth the savings of $14? Can any of these little stores be trusted? Does Verizon sabotage them so you have to eventually come crawling back? Maybe Verizon owns them and gets your money in every direction! [/conspiracytheory]

They wrote back:

I do apologize, We had a bad batch of cables that we received, We will reship you a good cable this time.

We want to earn your positive feedback with 5 stars on eBay. If you have any concerns let me know right away so I can take care of them before leaving any feedback.


Unfortunate update: eBay's policy is that after 60 days, you can no longer leave feedback on an item. After 45 days, you can no longer open a case with the eBay resolution center. This policy is fantastic when your seller doesn't string you along for two months. I had already resigned to the fact that I'd probably never get this cable, so I at least wanted to give them an piece of my mind, officially. Now it seems that's been robbed from me as well, so I'm going to go back to bitchy emails.

October 23, 2009

Epic Celebrity Mash-up

I had a lot of problems yesterday putting images together for what I thought was a great blog idea (not revealing what it is just yet). Today I'm glad I decided to approach things differently and not be discouraged. Lo and behold, this came together magically in less than an hour. I considered a number of additions (the Ghostbusters logo?; Ray Lewis' uniform number?, Roger, Dudley, or Michael Moore? ) and had a couple internal debates (Louis or Lewis?; watermark?).Ultimately, I felt that simpler was better.

This is some slick shit if I do say so myself. Smirk.

October 20, 2009

Blast Off

The only way this headline could be improved would be if it read:

"Colleagues Finger, Blast Billionaire."

October 17, 2009

Comet Shuki-Levy

Although I rarely turn on the television these days, I watched a shitpotload of TV as a kid. A lot of Nickelodeon (Mr. Wizard, You Can't Do That On Television, Dennis the Menace), PBS (Square One, 3-2-1 Contact), and anything on HBO (Hey, Beastmaster's On). Oh, and What's Happening!! reruns (with Rerun).

Of course there were a bunch of cartoons that I was infatuated with as well, and my favorites were the ones with the most awesome theme songs: M.A.S.K., He-Man, and Heathcliff. These mighty jingles were all composed by Shuki Levy. This dude did so many amazing cartoon theme songs that I will never forget, even for shows that I didn't watch: Pole Position, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, Dinosaucers, Inspector Gadget, Mr. T, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. His contributions to television helped build the foundation for my obsession with music. I didn't really listen to much popular music as a kid (except Weird Al, of course), but I was constantly inundated with TV theme songs, commercial jingles, and wrestling entrance music. The challenge of these genres was that so many musical elements, hooks, and lyrical exposition would need to be introduced in just 30-60 seconds. Despite competing against children's attention spans, Levy was able to drill tunes into my head that I've never forgotten.

I've purchased many of the Television's Greatest Hits discs over the years, but none of the volumes feature any Levy-produced tracks.* For some reason, his cartoon music is not commercially available independent from the shows themselves. Fortunately, his website features many full theme songs available for free listening. While listening back to one of my favorites, Heathcliff and the Cadillac Cats, I realized that I never quite knew all the lyrics. While searching for them online today, I stumbled on someone else that had the same problem. And now I'm going to blatantly rip off SydLexia and compare my interpretation to the real lyrics:

Heathcliff, Heathcliff, no one should
Terrify the neighborhood
But Heathcliff just won't be undone
Playing pranks on everyone

The first section is fine, and I think that's really all that matters. Most of Heathcliff's character has already been summed up correctly, minus the vandalism, fish eating and pussy slaying.

There's a race to be on top
The competition doesn't stop
Fixing with the ladies' fan
Me and Johnny never laugh

The last two lines were always muddy to me. Turns out it they are supposed to be "Mixing with the ladies' fair, being charming, debonair." I don't think English is the singer's first language. I didn't know what debonair was in 2nd grade anyway. Who's Johnny? I don't know, but I'm sure SydLexia would agree that it has something to do with a Short Circuit in our mid-80's brains.

The gang will raise a brick
And no one can deny-y-y-y
They make up history
And always have an out of time

I'm close here regarding the violent nature of cat gang wars, but not so much in the lyrics:

The gang will reign supreme
And no one can deny
They'll make some history
And always have an alibi

I can hear "alibi" pretty clearly now, but in 2nd grade the word just didn't exist to me. By the way, an "out of time" is an "out of sight time" for blind people that don't proofread.

Social in the jubilee
The cats are great, they'll all agree
Finding each calamity
The cats have fear E.O.F.D.

What the fuck is E.O.F.D.? I don't know. I always assumed they were trying to say D-O-G but knew that cats couldn't really spell. Equal Opportunity Fighters of Dogs is no Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, but it will do in a pinch. Turns out the real lyrics are just more feline master race propaganda:

So join in the jubilee
The cats are great, they'll all agree
You'll find in each calamity
The cat's superiority

The rest I've got right, proving that songs only need a solid beginning and end to be effective:

Heathcliff, Heathcliff no one should
Terrify the neighborhood
But Heathcliff just won't be undone
You should realize he could win it with you.

While listening to this song a thousand times today, I remembered being on the bus in grade school looking out the window innocently singing the melody to myself. Michael, an older kid that lived down the street, stopped me with disgust and said "Are you singing the Heathcliff song?!" I sort of looked up to Mike--he used to do fun things like set his GI Joe plane on fire and yell "Suck my cock!" at the bus driver. I quickly and shamefully denied singing the song. Had I not learned anything from Heathcliff, the most badass cartoon character of the 80? I should've raised a brick!

Twenty-three years later I can proudly say, yes, despite not knowing the words, I was, in fact, singing the Heathcliff song. Suck my cock!

PS - Here's the rare extended version of the M.A.S.K. theme song!

* - I'm wrong here. "Inspector Gadget" is on Volume 3.

October 12, 2009

Lady Gaga, Papa Rollie

I know I've been neglecting this blog in favor of videoblogging on my band blog (plowingmudforever.blogspot.com), but blog blog bloggedy blog. I've discovered that I still really enjoy editing audio and video, and still take a very long, obsessive time to do it. And on top of that, I use a shitty program that constantly crashes! (F. U., Windows Movie Crasher)

I took a little break from recording band crap and decided to practice my funnies on Lady Gaga instead. I sure cracked myself up, but I think some of the stuff I put together is too obscure/fast-paced/lame-0 for others to share in the chuckle. Whatever. YouTube is filled with shitmouths that think they're funny but aren't. I'll just be adding to the pile.

One Pill Makes You Larger...

Found these 'pills' while cleaning out someone's cubicle the other day. At least I didn't find cyanide capsules.

October 4, 2009

Xlerate Ur Deth

Electrical outlet under the Xlerator hand dryer. Seems like a bad idea to me.

October 1, 2009

Fully Tasteless

Hey, have you guys heard of Twitter? It's this crazy place where you type short bursts of thought when you're in the bathroom or waiting for someone to show up at the bar and then in return you get the attention of a thousand spam porn accounts. It's like Blogger, except the spam isn't in Japanese.

So I was on my Twitter today and noticed that @Buddyhead has been retweeting a lot of @Chunklet messages. Chunklet schwas an awesome music Zine that I first discovered above the toilet I shared with Ryan Stevens in 2005. They had a good mix of snarky comedy bits (How to properly Man-Hug), off-beat lists (Bands We'll Pay NOT To Play), and in-depth feature articles like the 8,000 page Don Caballero Tour Diary. It was well-written, played to my darker sense of humor, and passionately catered to my musical interests. Unfortunately, By the time I started reading the couple of issues that Ryan owned, the Chunklet publishing schedule has already been downgraded from "occasionally" to "if we ever get around to it."

Time went by and I never saw another issue. Eventually I stopped looking and forgot about it. Buddyhead, Matt Pinfield, and Twitter filling my music infotainment void now, but seeing that Chunklet has an active Twitter account was an exciting reminder to see what they are up to these days. I quickly typed in Chunklet.com and hit enter.

Tasteless? What on the website could possibly be so utterly tasteless that it would taint my output for the rest of this work day? And speaking of "website," "tasteless," "taint," and "output"... not even a Tubgirl webpage could ruin anyone's day or instantly make them an incompetent employee. Taste is clearly subjective. I can understand blocking a page if it's subject to viruses or other random badstuffs. Further evidence of an anti-Chunklet internet conspiracy is found on the Chunklet Wikipedia page, or what is left of it (sounds like a future Don Caballero song title). The page was deleted earlier this year without any explanation. Pritty shetty.

Oh well, I had to rely on conventional searches to learn that there was in fact a new issue of Chunklet published last year (#20), as well as a book put out by Chunklet editor Henry Owings along with Patton Oswalt called The Rock Bible. And the two Chunklet "Overrated Issues" were repackaged together. I wonder if I can buy any of this through the Chunklet website. Guess I'll find out after work.