Saturday, April 4, 2009

So Long and Thanks for All the Books

I worked at Borders for 10 months and all I got was this stupid name tag.

As you may or may not know two weeks ago I decided to resign my position as junior used car salesman at Borders Inc. because of something I like to call "Corporate Differences". Well today was my last day, an uneventful one that resulted in me getting a free drink in the cafe. No not because I donated a bag of beans to the USO but because I somehow have aquired 5 Borders Bucks. Here is my thoughts on my departure.

Things I Will Not Miss:
  • "Do you have a Borders Rewards card? Would you like one, it just takes 30 seconds, an email address and it's completely free?"
  • The Kid's Section
  • Listening to Genilee talk about her cats, her 42348923 nieces and nephews, how she does not want to pass her genetics on, how she can't touch candy because she will pass out, how she is being promoted to a fictional position of "head cashier", why she only drinks Diet Mountain Dew, her response to customers asking how she is which is "awake", her babel about how much product she suckers customers into buying.
  • Master Wok
  • Heather and that condescending sneer that she gives whenever I ask her a question.
  • The T-Mobile sellers
  • Finding playboys in the Manga section
  • Pep talks on how to get my Borders Rewards numbers up. You know how I got that 70% Borders? I punched in random phone numbers and made fake accounts. And you didn't catch me!
  • Joel Olsteen's stupid face
  • The Asian guy who always put things on reserve so he could go get money from the ATM but then never came back.
  • People who read Twilight. Or as Borders calls them "Twihards".
  • Recovering the sex section and having people tell me that "You can really find good books in this section"
  • The Big Penis Book
  • Telling people they should donate a bag of bean's to the troops so they can drink something good for once. Yes because what we need is shitty Border's coffee running through our soldier's veins as they dodge bullets and get rocket proppelled grenades shot at them. At least they are drinking good coffee.
  • Being told that I'm an idiot by customer's who, though they can't read the sign that says "enter line here", are smarter than me.
  • Joel Olsteen's Wife's even stupider face.
  • Having to place Toni Morrison's books next to books like this.
  • Operating registers from the 1980's
  • U2
  • Motown Hits
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • My Chemical Romance
  • Paul McCartney and the Fireman
  • New Bob Dylan
  • Robert Plant & Allison Kraus
  • Having to explain that why Borders does not have a Biography section.
  • Seeing The Shack as the number one best seller.
  • Tucker Max
  • Telling people to just go buy it on Amazon.
  • Explaining why it says "Likely in Store" and not "In Stock" and then providing an example of why it says just that.

Things I Will Miss:

Now the Underling needs to go find a job.......

Friday, April 3, 2009

This Weeks Hefty Helping of Little Grumblings

Here is this weeks hefty helping of Little Grumblings, enjoy. And as always the ones that are not witty I did not write.
  • Why I don't follow NCAA Basketball; because I end up getting hit in the head with a ball while checking scores. I knew there was a reason.
  • 4 shifts left.
  • Borders Gift to our troops: Have people buy bags of coffee for $10 then donate it to the troops for a free drink in the cafe. So glad I quit
  • I just bought a coke and upon taking a sip I realized it was coke zero. Balls.
  • 3 shifts left
  • I look ridiculous: Hoody, windbreaker, sweatpants, and sandals. However it seems appropriate in Boston.
  • Jens Lekman will be touring the US this year. Looks like I won't have to be traveling to Iceland after all...
  • 2 shifts left
  • OK NYT I get it you have a global edition now get rid of that stupid yellow banner at the top.
  • There are 5 classes left in Contemporary Black Politics and we just started talking about contemporary black politics. Beyond frustrated.
  • I have heard Ents referenced in class twice today.
  • Hitting shuffle on a 112 GB music library can create some interesting back to back combinations. Example: DMX & Bright Eyes. Tour? No?
  • I just got a an online security question that prompted me to enter "Army" and "Tillman" into the same box. Speechless.
  • I would like to replace "Speechless" in my last tweet with "Flabbergasted". Thank you.
  • I like how my letting the hairdresser put product in my hair made her visibly giddy. All I could think about was washing it out 15 min later
  • NU Moron: "I thought it was time" Barber: "Time to razor half your hair and leave the top untouched? How could it ever be time for that?"
  • Dear Mr. Chavez: Defending a homicidal maniac by calling your nemesis a homicidal maniac does not count as an argument.
  • I thought it was a well known fact that dirty hippies use a specific body wash to get that scent of BO and Weed. @LucyFitzgerald
  • Is it dirty or would they just consider it the natural state of man; drunk, high, a potent smell and endless jamming? @LucyFitzgerald
  • I think I should stop before I go and delete my whole blog by accident. No you can't convince me to to stay, I see your real motives.
  • My Professor's take on my Spanish test and my Spanish speaking abilities: "This is Spitalian!"
  • Dear White American Male Forefathers: I no longer want to be blamed for your transgressions. I will now be considered an Off-White Am Male
  • I feel there is something fundamentally wrong when I buy my milk at Whole Foods only for the purpose of making Kraft Mac and Cheese.
  • New air-freshener: Franks Red Hot + Stove Top Burner
Get your instant grumblings here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's Easy (but probably not probable) Being Green: Sailcar

Here is our ongoing segment known as It's Easy (but probably not probable) Being Green. Which is ripped from a Kermit the Frog song. Again I am not the green energy consulted that also goes by the name Kevin Doyle, I'm just the guy who gets his emails.

Mr. President

As a result of your rejection of last weeks plan to invade both Canada and Mexico on the grounds that stealing their oil and then using their homelands as vacation spots does not constitute itself as Green Energy we have come up with a new plan that involves no military involvement what so ever. Sailing cars.

It is quite simple really, we take cars and make them work like sailboats on land. Easy concept.

The advantages of a sailing car would be enormous, especially in very windy cities. It would also be a boon to the ailing sail market as well as spur a whole new generation of sailors which is something we need in order to take back The America's Cup. Damn Swiss and their landlocked country.....

And unlike ideas such as ethanol cars, hybrids and nuclear powered vehicles anyone with a regular car can retrofit it to work as a sail powered vehicle at a small price that we think the government should finance.

There are of course downsides,
  1. Useless in areas of the country that get very little wind (we are currently developing a technique that incorporates oars for no-wind situations)
  2. Unable to outrun tornadoes
  3. Requires roads a mile wide to allow for tacking in head wind conditions
  4. Silly sailor outfits would proliferate
  5. Engine vs Sail style Road Rage.
All workable problems for sure, I just bring them to your attention so we can put your experts on the case to figure them out.

No sir I'm not an expert.

What am I? I'm just a guy who gets mistaken as a green energy expert and subsequently gets a lot of emails with invites to Green Energy conferences.

Of course I'm not qualified to speak .

Don't blame me! You are the one who let me in here!

Wait, hold on! Hey get your god damn hands of of me!

:Scuffling noises:

Mr, President! Mr. President! Rahm!!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What I Am Reading: A Farewell to Arms

Eh it was ok, review here.

Not to be confused with Hemenway St. Ernest Hemingway is the author of small book we all know and claim as one of the best books we read in High School (judging by the size it's hard to see why that is) that book being The Old Man and the Sea.

Surprisingly that is not the only book Mr. Hemingway wrote, there appears to be countless others since and before then. One of which I happen to be reading now, A Farewell to Arms which takes place during World War I which was ironically known as "The War to end all Wars." You didn't really need to know that, I just thought you might enjoy it. If you didn't then you probably should not be reading this blog, it's full of useless things like that.

Before we get to the cover I would like to point out ways that Hemingway is connected to my life:
  • He is Katy's favorite author (A Farewell to Arms is also her favorite book) which only perpetuates her fascination with creepy old men. I still don't quite understand why she likes me though.
  • My cat is known as a Hemingway cat because of her extra toes, a type of cat that can only be found in Key West, New England and parts of Europe. All places Hemingway spent time drinking, enjoying the company of many women, writing and apparently breeding 6 toed cats.
There is not one Hemingway book in print that has a good cover. I implore you to find one, and if you can't I beg you to make one and break a few copyright laws in the process.

What I Just Read: The Good Citizen

The Underling doesn't like the cover but why take our word for it read him say it !

Well I sort of read this book, I skimmed it over, read the bolded headings and words that made me feel like I was reading a text book and then came to this conclusion the same conclusion I came to before: Where does an old guy get off telling me what my generation is like
? All he has is numbers taken from a survey that only has relevance if his respondents are telling the truth, and who wouldn't say they like to do good?

I do see his point that less people vote today, but more people do volunteer. Why is that possible? Because America went through a very good economic time period in the in 90's which left many Americans with money to spend on their childrens education and to give them as spending money (also we developed a credit card culture which allows people to go in to debt with out having to work). Result: Children who go to college on their parents dime and don't have to work while in school. What do they do with their free time? Well the noble ones volunteer but not as many as Mr. Dalton would want us to think.

Only a fraction of students volunteer and they all tend to be the same people, I know plenty of college students who only volunteered in high school because it was a requirement to graduate. But that's neither here nor there. Just as what will happen to all those volunteers when they have to start making money to pay for their schooling because the credit market fell apart.

My real gripe with Dalton is him saying voting is not that big of a deal anymore because we all volunteer and are a bunch of do-gooders. I have a fundamental problem with people who complain about leadership and then tacitly support it by not voting. Yes I understand volunteering is like protest and I am all for protest but don't complain about the system and do nothing to change it. The US government is too large and too powerful to work outside of and eventually you are going to but heads with it if you try, so atleast go in and vote for yourself or maybe a third part candidate.

Ok I'm done complaining. For the indefinite future I will only be reading books I choose to read because unfortunatly Capstone is coming to a close.

Maybe I will go read Lennon........

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Recomendations" + Poor Children + The Homeless + Soldiers = 2 Weeks

I have been meaning to post this for about a week and a half now but for one reason or another I have not, sorry.

So I quit my job. Borders to be specific. I know, no more discount on books, how could I? Here's how:

Since I started working at Borders the company has been shifting it's Customer Service in store staff towards being salesmen, are new name was "bookseller". With the downturn of the economy and the retention of bankruptcy lawyers on the part of Borders they really started to tightening the screws on the entire staff to start "urging" customers to buy a specific product.

Before I went to Egypt I could handle the little bits of pressure the managers put on me and I would just shrug it off and move on with my day. Upon my return things were a little different.

What confronted me was a sign that said if any employee failed to great and "recommend" a product to every customer within 10 feet of them they would be terminated. On top of that we would each be graded for every CSI (those surveys the ask you to fill out over the phone at the register) that is issued during our shift. As well as we would be graded by a manager and asked to sign off on said grade each shift. Not to mention there are four specific products that we are supposed to be "intimate" with so we can better "recommended" them to customers (last week they were a stuffed bunny, a medical narrative about a woman with cancer, some random harcover novel about a Chinese love story, and the new Jodi Piccoult book. If I had my way I would reccomend they don't buy those things).

Throw on top of that our "charities" that we run at the register which include a stuffed bunny you can buy for $6 that we take all the profits from and then donate to the Salvation army, or the book drive that requires you to by a specific book from us that we again take the profit from and then donate at your behest, OR (my favorite) you can buy a bag of coffee beans from us for $10 and donate it to the troops oversees for which we get all the profit and you can have a free drink from our cafe.

Because you know if there is one thing our servicemen and women need in Iraq and Afghanistan it's to be hooked on bad coffee. Here's a real charity, how about we start taking money that goes to buying them more body armor or maybe to help disabled veterans recover from injuries such as missing extremities or PTSD. Preying on peoples emotions with poor children, the homeless and soldiers just to make a buck. Fuck You Borders for making me feel guilty every time I process a transaction. Shame on you.

And all this in a time of economic recession.

For those reasons I gave my two weeks notice on Saturday March 21st, and for that reason all my co-workers (some managers included) gave me congratulations. Just a little something Borders, when your employees congratulate each other about being able to quit the company it means you are doing something wrong.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What I Just Read: rabbit, run

For the brief but wondrous thoughts on the cover go here.

Let's get one thing straight I hate Rabbit; no not the cute furry animal, I am talking about the non-committal, selfish and just all around simple minded character in John Updike's well written book rabbit, run.

To be honest I thought it was a well written book, John Updike is very talented when it comes to character development and switching point of view mid scene, and hell everyone loves some good stream of consciousness. But I don't think by the end of this book I have hated any character as much as I hate Rabbit. Except, of course, Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye, and don't act like you don't know who or what I'm talking about because there is no way you haven't read Catcher in the Rye because everyone who likes to read has read Catcher in the Rye because Catcher in the Rye is everyone's favorite book and is definitely worth recommending every time someone tells you they like to read.

Did I mention I hate that book? All I wanted to do the whole time was climb through the book, slap Holden across the face, watch him cry and then drag him back to his parents and give him a time out. I get it, you don't become an adult because you want to be an adult you become an adult because it is time to be an adult, you rise to the occasion, and you don't get to pick when that occasion happens. So yeah, you probably really like that book because in some way you can relate, but just because everyone can relate to something doesn't make it a good book. Sort of like when your favorite movie is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. On second thought I don't need to give you two reasons to stop reading my blog.

Moving on!

Updike has three more books in his series on Rabbit and I don't know if I want to conitue reading them or not. On one hand Rabbit infuriates me so much that I want to throw things but on the other Updike writes well and I do enjoy the book for the most part. Regardless I can't find a copy as of right now so it may be a while until I have to come to a real decision.

Oh and for the record I did get looks for reading this book, or at least I think I did, I'm not sure. On second thought I may have been inventing those looks that the homeless guy was giving me that I took as anti-snobbery looks, but that might be for other reasons, I mean he is homeless.