people pet peeves.

Wow. While I find it interesting dealing with a diverse group of people, I also find it interesting that some people have no clue to to socially interact with others. My short list of people pet peeves begin here.

  1. The person who talks over everyone else. Wow. Sound familiar? I pick up the phone to talk to someone that needs my help. I pick up the phone, being introducing myself politely, and before I can say anything more…the other voice on the phone starts talking over me, talking about what is wrong. As soon as I sense a pause, I try to offer my help, but the voice again starts talking over me…so much so that I do not say anything until they are for sure done. I then attempt to say what I tried before, but stopped because I do not want to talk over someone that s talking over me. Although I can deal with this situation by patiently waiting…having someone talk over me, especially when they want my assistance, is my #1 people related pet peeve. Want to test my patience? Try this trick.
  2. The salesman who always assumes “the man of the house” is the decision maker. Ladies, this has to sound familiar. When buying my Volvo #2, I brought a friend a long for the search. Who did the salesman go right up to? My male friend. I also called a business this weekend to set up an appointment for a home related repair. After asking me if the man of the house would be home for the decision making process, I told him he would not have my business. Business lesson learned: never assume.
  3. The person who always has to have the last word. This is that guy in my History 20 class that I avoided at all costs, yet seemed to always get thrown into discussion groups with him…which was completely worthless because it ended up being a who can get the last word in. The Mac OS X Server listserve has one of these too. Unfortunately, I have also been introduced to one of these people in the recent past. Lots of deep breaths…and hopes for a good SNL skit of an episode of The Office about “that guy”. PS. Your insecurities are obvious.
  4. The loud cell phone talker. This is a given for anyone who takes public transportation. Really, we do not care that your child’s teacher is “lying” about your son’s homework completion. In fact, we believe your son is the actual liar in the bunch. It was a happy day when I again overhear you yell at your son because you found out the teacher was telling the truth. Thanks for that laugh.

[tags]pet peeves[/tags]

fun with technology.

Well well. I finally have a decent spell check option and it is thanks to the Google Toolbar. I can spellcheck anything in my browser window with a click of the button. I am not known for my spelling skills, so hopefully this will help me. On another fun note…I was getting a Coke on the first floor of my building and my co-worker who was walking next to me says: No way! Look at the homeless guy on his cell phone!! He has a cell phone!” Yeah…apparently even the homeless have cell phones now.

fun on the metra.

Ahh, nothing says fun like the Metra. Today, the Metra was running late, but I was ok…no hat, but I was rocking out to Maddona’s new CD: Confessions on a Dancefloor. Once the train came, it did not stop in it’s usual spot so everyone’s “position” was off. Again, not a problem for me, I really do not care if I do not get the first seat available. Next thing I know, I have someone behind me that keeps running into me as I am walking with probably 25 people towards the Metra door. I look around the first time and give a confused look (why are you so eager?), then the second time I mumble “jesus”. The third time, I was really frustrated and I let out a “What the f***?”, because it is ridiculous. We are all adults, and yet getting on the train this morning was like trying to get out of a building on fire. People were coming in from the side and shoving themselves in front of me, I have the idiot behind me shoving me forward, and others boxing people out from the other side. Lovely I think. Luckily I found an open seat…the death seat (front most seat on the train). The death seat is comprised of two seats that face each other, usually shared by 2 people so you do not have to worry about banging knees and being super crowded. Believe me, three is a crowd. Well, just about a week ago, someone decided they wanted to sit 3 in a similar seat situation with me in the middle. With little legroom, I was scrunched in between 2 other people. Nothing says fun like being squashed for over 45 minutes. I went home and complained to A about this and she said “why didn’t you just move?”. I thought about it for a few minutes and decided if this were to happen again, I would move. (For non-Metra riders…sitting 3 in a seat like this is a major faux pax) Well, it happened today and as soon as the jack ass tried to sit down, I got up and took off to find a new seat. 2006 is going to be the year of “stop complaining and do something about it”. 😉

Volvo For Life?

Dear Volvo,

I have been a loyal Volvo owner since I bought my first car almost ten years ago. I know ten years might seem short, but believe me, after I had my first ride in a Volvo, I knew there was no other car I would want to drive and safely get me from point A to point B. This is my Volvo story.

I grew up on a small Native American reservation in western New York. All of my parents’ friends drove Ford and GM cars and trucks. I had family that worked in a GM plant. My parents always told me that I should support our country and buy US made cars, and that these cars were superior to foreign cars. When I left my small community and went to college I began seeing more and more foreign cars, and particularly Volvos. I instantly fell in love with the classic “boxy” 240s that could be seen driven by Professors and students alike. As it turned out, one of my good friends owned a 1982 Volvo 240 – the first Volvo I would ever drive. By the time I had the pleasure of driving this car, it had made it completely across the US and back, had over 200,000 miles on it, and had been passed down through my friend’s family. Some of the interior plastic was faded and cracked, the leather was torn in spots, but the car was solid. I felt safer in that old Volvo than I did in any brand new car my parents had brought home from years past.

When it came time for me to buy my first car, there was only one make of car on my list to look at: Volvo. My parents took me out one Saturday to all the local car dealships. Volvo first…but they did not have any cheap older models, so it was off to another dealer, and another, and another. Finally, when I thought I was never going to find a suitable car, my mother made me stop and look at a Ford dealership. The sleezy Ford car salesman approached my father (of course) and asked him what he was looking for. Before my father had a chance to open his mouth, I said “Do you have any non-Fords here?” He pointed to a corner of a lot, where I found my first car: a 1986 760 GLE. The battery was dead, and it made an awful noise when it started (a new starter was needed, among other things) but I knew it was the right car for me.It was a proud moment for me. My parents warned me about the expenses involved with owning a foreign car, but I did not care. Volvo was a brand that meant quality and safety and I was more than happy with my 760 GLE.

Within a few months of my first Volvo purchase, the new Volvo S80 debuted and I fell in love with the first glance of the back tail lights. It was an amazing and breath taking automobile, but a little out of my price range. In fact, I quit my first job after six months because I knew my pay would never get me to the point, not even after 5 years, to afford a S80. When I told the HR representative that I was quitting my job to move to Chicago where I would be able to make more money, she lectured me on the cost of living. My comment to her before I walked out of her office: “A Volvo S80 costs the same here as it does in Chicago, and here, right now and even in five years I am not going ot be able to afford one here.” Out to Chicago I went…for new opportunities, and the prospect that I would soon make enough to buy a new Volvo.

Within one year of living in Chicago, I traded in my good friend, the Volvo 760 GLE for the Volvo S70. I wanted the S80, but it was still slightly out of my reach. I loved my S70, but it was never an S80 which I had wanted for years…so as soon as I had enough money…I traded the S70 in and finally got the car of my dreams: the Volvo S80 T6. I have driven this S80 countless times, and still each time I open the door and sit down, I think about how happy I am with my car, and how amazing it is.

With all of that said, I was Volvo’s dream of a customer and their slogan: “Volvo for Life”. I never thought twice about taking my Volvos to a non-Volvo dealer. I never thought I would be without a Volvo in my driveway (I did think about adding a Range Rover or a Saab at some point), but the S80 was going to be my car, and the car I would pass down to my kids for their first car. Volvo for life, was more than a company slogan for me, it was my personal slogan too.

The day that Ford announced it was buing Volvo, I still had my 1986 Volvo 760 GLE and I remember thinking about how upsetting that was. Was I going to have to take my car to a Ford dealer to get it serviced by sub-Jen/Volvo standard workers? Was Ford going to just use Volvo’s safety technology for their own line of cars and leave Volvo alone? At this point Ford had already purchased Jaguar, and the Jaguar line was doing ok. No signs of servicing Jags at Ford.

I thought it might be ok. Then the first sign of the Ford buyout appeared: the “entry level” Jaguar. Oh boy. Please. Take a look at that Jaguar and tell me it has distinctive lines of a classic, easy to spot Jaguar, pre-Ford. My eyses spotted something: it looks like a cheap ass Taurus. Soon after I picked up on that, the Volvo S40 was announced. The S40 in my mind was a mistake. Yes, I understand the entry level car concept, but this car was a disgrace to the line. I began to get nervous about the future of the Volvo line. A year or so later, Volvo released their SUV, the XC90. I thought ok, the S40 threw me off, perhaps the Volvo line will be ok, because I really like the XC90. A year or so goes by…and once again, I get nervous because Volvo announces the V50, which makes the S40 look good. The V50 is by far the most Ford-ish garbage design I have seen so far with the Volvo line. At this point the Jaguar line is completely destroyed. I keep the promise of the new Range Rover in my head though…I love that SUV and the new design was released under Ford. Perhaps there is hope?

Turns out I was living in a dream world for awhile…thinking that my next car would surely be another S80 because Ford would not ruin that design. Well, it was made clear to me last weekend, after visiting the Volvo dealer for an oil change. It is my own tradition that during an oil change, I always go to all the new Volvos in the showroom, check them out, sit in them, and find out what is new. As soon as I saw the S80, my heart sunk. It was no longer the S80 design I had fell in love with. It was now a cross between a Taurus, a Ford 500, and a bastardized S80. The tail light design was messed up, the trunk sat lower, and the sides of the car were lower as well. I stood and inspected this S80 for 20 minutes. Standing in the front and looking at the lines, standing at the sides, and a good 10 minutes staring at the back. If I won the lottery or came into some money tomorrow, I would not buy one. If I wanted a Taurus or a Ford 500, I would buy one. I love Volvos because of the Volvo style, design, and safety, not Ford’s lack of style, lack of design, and lack of safety. To further slap Volvo owners and Volvo lovers in the face: The Insurance Institute released their Top 10 safest car list. What car should be at the top? A Volvo. What car is at the top? The Ford 500. What???

What I despise most about the purchase of Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin, is that Ford cars are seeing a benefit. They (Ford) finally understands car safety. They finally are starting to pick up on design cues, and the concept of using quaility materials. All of this has a cost though. The high end makes and models (Jaguar, Volvo, etc) are seeing a decrease in quality.

I am hoping that the 2007 S80 redesign is a good one, but I am not counting on it. All I can hope is that my S80 lasts as long as possible…and that Ford backs off of Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover before they completely destroy the brands. Watch out Land Rover, the “entry level” model is out and it sucks as much as the Jaguar X-Type and the Volvo S40.

Volvo, my request to you is to please stick with what you know, what you do best, and please somehow…get Ford to back off. I buy Volvos because I love Volvos…not Fords. When I look at an S80, I want to see an S80, not a modified Ford. It might just be time to learn stick shift so I can keep my options open for me with Porsche.

crazy safari.

Not sure if anyone else has accidentally done what I just did, but I got a kick out of it and thought I would share. I looking at a web site in Safari and decided I wanted to grab the URL and drag it onto my desktop for later use. Instead, I heard the “poof” sound and next thing I know, I accidentally dragged my address/search bar out of Safari. This is what it looked like:
Carzy Safari

It was an easy fix (View menu > customize Address bar) but still…it was a bit of a shock to see a browser sans address bar.

larry david moment: the metra station friendly stranger.

Yeah. I am a Seinfeld fan. I often give the name Elaine Benes when making reservations, and my vocabulary is full of words/statements that are from Seinfeld and Curb your Enthusiasm. I could have written an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm with my thought process/actions yesterday…so I thought I would share. Some think it is funny, some think it is pathetic. Either way, it is very much something I could see Larry David going through and to me, that is funny.

To start off this fiasco, some background information: I often take the train to downtown. I have to pay for parking ($1.00 for 24 hours). One day, about two months ago, I was running late, short on change so I grabbed what I had…two quarters, four dimes, and two nickels. Every morning is the same. I sleep late, run around like crazy, Amy gets frustrated and “kindly” reminds me that I could get up earlier and buy a parking card (swipe the card every morning at the parking meter instead of finding change everywhere possible…like her wallet), and then I run out the door, use the turbo in my car for about a mile, jump out of the car, run to the parking meter as the train gates are going down, throw my change in (I have developed a process of inserting the coins into the parking meter as fast as possible ( I have missed trains because the idiot in front of me is paying with all nickels, or decides to take their sweet time)), and jump on the train as the doors close.

Ok. So about two months ago. I get to the parking meter, throw in four quarters as fast as possible, but this time it was too fast. My last quarter did not register…and I have 2 people behind me waiting to put in their change. You cannot press any button to return your change, the only option is to put in more change so it will register, then the next person can put their change in. My thoughts race. I do not like to hold people up, but I have no extra change on me, and the gates are coming down. I turn around and a certain friendly stranger asks me what the problem is. I told her the situation and she gave me a quarter. In return I gave her a Susan B. Anthony and a “Thank You”. Now, I did not notice what she looked like…I mostly focused on not missing my train, but I remember this person being a female with dark-ish hair…that is it.

For the last few weeks, I have randomly seen someone who I had originally thought was the friendly stranger that helped me out. We road the same train home and I would see her when we would get off the train. She always smiled and said hello, and I would do the same…because I thought she was the one who helped me out.

Yesterday… Yesterday I got off the train and walked home. I saw this same person, and I saw her walking in the same direction I was going. Now, I appreciated the quarter in the time of need, but I thought to myself…I really do not want to “chat” with anyone as I am walking home. I kicked it in high gear, went throw some parking lots, and got just enough ahead of her, and without looking at her so that I would have to waive or have a “stop and chat”. I could hear her behind me, but I thought I would lose her as I made my turn. Nope…I could still hear her behind me. “Odd” I thought. Next thing I know, my awesome neighbor sees me walking and offers to drive me home the rest of the way. I got in the car. I thought that was going to be it with this friendly stranger. Wrong.

I had to take Triscuit for a walk, so I got her ready and we turned out of the driveway…when who would have guessed, this friendly stranger was turning in…she is apparently my neighbor. Of course I feel like an idiot. This was not the person who gave me change, this is someone I should have recognized right away because we live next to each other. Of course when I passed her in the driveway, I had to open my mouth and say “Oh you are my neighbor” letting her know I had no idea who she was. Now I feel like a super idiot, and I start planning on taking another train to avoid the possible walk home talking to her…and I tell Amy about this whole fiasco. She thinks I am a joke…then tells me she is the neighbor that drives the white car and parks it out on the street. Now I really do not want to have anything to do with her. 😉 I was hoping at least she was the one with the BMW so we could talk about cars, if we ever walked together. Oh well. I know…I am crazy and long winded…but I just got a kick out of the whole situation. Will I switch trains? Will I start talking to her? Or will I continue to uncomfortably avoid? Who knows. Let’s see what she says the next time we see each other.

email forwards.

You know the situation. You have friends that think you want to read their stupid forwards. How many times have I recieved an email from someone that said “just try it” or “what do you have to lose?” or “this really works!!!”. Sure. Thanks for just wasting my time deleting your message. Then, without doubt, I then get an email saying “I always email you and you never keep in touch.” Let’s get this straight…forwards are junk mail. Do not complain that I do not email back or keep in touch when you only send me forwards. Take a minute and actually compose an email to me and I will respond. Anyways, I was going through my bookmarks and came across a little funny commentary on forwards. Enjoy. Send me a forward? I will send you that link.

plugged in again.

After being just shy of putting 2000 miles for the week the Volvo, me, and A are ok. The trip summed up: Thirteen hours to first destination. Had a new take on evolution and conservation. Saw Emily’s baby, spent some time with A’s family. Went to a baptismal. Got back in the car for a few more hours. Spent some time with more family. Saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (I liked it more than the original). Rented the original Willy Wonka and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Watched the original War of the Worlds (liked the second one better). Got back in the car for a few more hours. Went to PSU. Bought lots of stuff. Found a new favorite beer – Lord Chesterfield. Saw one of my professors from years back, got invited back to his house for a drink (we drank out of 1810 pewter mugs. Hung out at an old college favorite bar. Almost ripped off the bottom of the car. Back in the car for a few more hours. Saw some more family. Won some money at the casino. Played some golf. Saw a lot more family. Played the most poker I ever have in my life. Almost broke my arm/tore some muscle. Played some ugly horseshoes. Made it to the final round of the family euchre tournament. Won some more money at the casino. Got in the car for another long trip back this way.

serenity now: backpacks on wheels!

Backpacks. What is so hard about this concept? You have a pack that you put on your back. Your back!! If you do not want to have a “backpack” you can buy something else. If you have a bad back, there are tons of other options…like carrying less, or using something else. So what is about these backpacks on wheels? I first began getting frustrated with these crazy things about two years ago when I was walking to work in rush hour foot traffic, and I was looking ahead (not at the ground) and the next thing I know, I am straddling a “backpack”. No I am not super tall…there it was, a backpack with only an inch or so off the ground. With people surrounding me, and the sheer shock I was in (pre-Coca Cola and the fact I was straddling something…and that something should have been on someone’s back), I had a hard time keeping my balance, not stopping traffic, and getting it out of way. The owner of this sort of bag was (besides a real genius) not happy and was swearing at me for unbalancing her precious BACKpack on wheels. From then on, I have many times pictured myself in a similar sitution, but instead of just accepting this hideous idea, I would kick the pack as I was crossing over the Chicago river, and the bag, in perfect flight would clear the railing and go to the bottom of the river.

I realize there is a need for some sort of luggage on wheels, but please, why is it that there are now so many BACKpacks with wheels? I have even seen little (very managable) briefcases on wheels. Perhaps these people that use them are carrying gold bars with them to work? What’s next…purses on wheels? Perhaps wallets (Costanza style) on skateboard wheels. Who knows. Where does it stop?