Saturday, June 30, 2007

Krazy Kinkos

If you've read the blog on my MySpace profile, or actually spoken to me lately, you already know about the wedding *fiasco*. Long story short, I came back from a very long, very tiring business trip to find a cute little note in my in-box titled "Clipper City Bad News." Clipper City is the name of the boat I chartered for my wedding...which is coming up fast.

Nobody wants to get bad news from their wedding venue. Most wedding news is bad, anyway. It usually comes in the form of "I don't like the tuxedo you picked," or "I realize you don't even know Aunt Harriet, but it's really important that she come, and she needs to bring an entourage, can you make room for them on the guest list?"

So I open the cryptic *bad news* message, only to find that it was, indeed, bad.

"At the end of last week I was told that the Coast Guard had terminated Clipper City Tall Ship's ability to take out passengers indefinitely, effective June 1st." This from the sales director, who also indicated that he had lost his job along with our deposits.

A quick Google search for news turned up gems like "Clipper City owner abandons fight to stay afloat" and "Tall Ship Biz Going Down."

After a disappointing attempt to relocate our event to another local charter company, I got the bright idea to look into the USS Constellation museum. Built in 1864, Constellation is the tall ship in Baltimore. A bad-ass enforcer of the ban on slave trading, piracy and the apparent crime of being either French or Spanish in the New World, the Constellation carried out missions in far-flung locations like the Mediterranean and the Congo River. Perfect! I'll take it! The fact that it was available on our date/time at an affordable rate sealed the deal.

Now what to do with those pesky invitations. Already printed with the other vessel's name, and desperately needing to go out, the invitations were the most vexing component of "Project Wedding Fix."

Enter Kinko's...

My first instinct was to check with a reputable stationer to learn the proper procedure for correcting invitations. The nice folks at Papyrus informed me that it would take two weeks, and cost close to $100 to print correction cards that would neither match my paper stock nor bear the same fonts used on my invites. They advised me to try Kinkos.

Should be simple, right? Can't be harder than buying donuts, and we've been through that...

Not being a desktop publishing expert, I simply created a graphic in Photoshop announcing the change in location and listing the new address. I grabbed the font and colors from the proof of the original invitations, and figured I was ready for Kinkos. Incorrect.

I knew I was in trouble as soon as I walked into the store. A disheveled employee greeted me at the counter with a "What'chu need?"

Me: "Well, I've got this file that I need to print, but I'm not sure what my options are in terms of paper size, weight and color." [I produced my memory stick]

Kinkos dude takes the memory stick, without a word, and hands it to his co-worker who is sitting at a computer some distance behind the counter. The co-worker doesn't even look at me. He grunts at Kinkos dude, who then shuffles back to the counter. Note that my question about paper options has not been answered.

Kinkos dude: "How many do you want to print?"

Me: "Well, it's not laid out for print yet. There's just the one image, and it needs to be about this big." [I pulled out my wedding invitation and showed him approximately how large I wanted the correction card be in relation to the invitation.] "I need to know the paper size options, so that I can figure out how many we can print per page."

Kinkos dude: "Well, if you just have the one image it's going to print one on each page."

Me: [obviously somebody here is missing the it me?] "Umm...well, I don't want to waste a bunch of paper, I would like to figure out how to optimize the process so that the image is duplicated as many times as possible on each sheet."

Kinkos dude: "I can't alter your image, if I do it won't look right."

Me: "Well, how do you do business cards? Do you have a template, or something? Kind of like what you use when you print labels? Then we could just replicate the image across the template."

Eyes flicker with understanding. This is good! Perhaps I've broken through the apathy.

Kinkos dude shuffles back to his co-worker and mutters something to him. Then he pulls a piece of paper off the printer and brings it back to the counter.

Kinkos dude: "Here is what it will look like if we print it four-up."

This is nowhere near what I wanted. The text is blown-up to fill a space the same size as my wedding invitation. What happened to business cards?

Me: "That's too big. Can we make it smaller, and just get as many as possible on the page?"

Kinkos dude: "That's the size of your image. We can't re-size it, because it's a read-only document. I can try to print it like a business card, though."

Ok. Now, I'm getting frustrated, because: a) I know for a fact that my file is not a read-only document and; b) the print-out is approximately 5 x 7, I sized the image in Photoshop at 3 x 1 1/2. Either I really am clueless in the art of print production, or the Kinkos staff is incompetent. Hmm. Probably a little of both, with an emphasis on the latter.

Me: "Look, do you have Photoshop on any of these computers here? I could just create an 8 1/2 x 11 document and duplicate the image a bunch of times until it fills the page."

Kinkos dude: [ignores my question about Photoshop] "Yeah, if you do that we can print it, no problem."

Me: "Well, do you have Photoshop here?"

Kinkos dude goes back and confers with his co-worker.

Enter the *Manager*...

Manager: "What do you need done?"

Me: "I'm trying to print something, but I want to make sure it's sized correctly on the page and that I'm using as much of the paper as possible. What kind of paper do you have, by the way?"

Manager: "Ok. Well, they're going to take care of the printing for you, [produces a sample book, hallelujah!] and here's the paper selection. [eyes my invitations] You're going to want to use card stock with those."

Me: [definitely not convinced that *they* are going to handle anything for me, or anyone else] "Ok, bright white card stock."

Manager: [directed at Kinkos dude and his co-worker, who are huddled around the workstation] "Bright white card stock!"

At this point, I feel that it's totally out of my control, so I simply go over to a table and sit down to await whatever results are headed my way. After about 2 minutes Kinkos dude comes back over with another print-out. This one is much better. The size is correct and there are six on the page now, instead of four. However the ink color doesn't quite match, and anybody can see that the page can handle more than six.

Me: [deciding not to tackle the ink color issue] "Well, the size is much better, but can't we fit more than six per page?"

Kinkos dude: [looking like he wants to strangle me] "I can't put more than six on the page without re-sizing the image, and then it won't look the same."

At this point, I really don't understand why adding more items to the page requires re-sizing, but I'm feeling defeat setting in. Not to mention, he's already re-sized it to bring it back from the 5 x 7 into something the fits on a business card. However, if I keep insisting on a logical explanation for things, nothing will get done, so f*ck it!

Me: "Ok, fine, but I'm going to need you to cut them up, too."

Kinkos dude: [really wants to strangle me at this point] "Awwlright." [in a tone that implies I'm only asking for more trouble and/or disappointment]

He goes back behind the counter and spends the next five minutes manually hacking away at the sheet of paper. It takes about 18 cuts before he has something to show me. Meanwhile, I'm wondering how they deal with bulk orders...can't this process be automated?

Kinkos dude hands me the print-out, now cut into six unevenly-sized pieces.

Me: "Um, these are totally uneven. I mean I guess it doesn't matter, because people won't be comparing their invitations (I hope), but can't you set the cutter to specific dimensions?"

Kinkos dude: "Yeah, it's uneven because I did it by hand. But yeah, nobody's going to notice that they aren't the same size since they'll all be going to different people."

Me: "Ok, whatever." [this keeps getting more and more complicated, and I have no idea why.]

Kinkos dude: "How many do you need?"

Me: "125. At six per page that is...let's see, how many pages?"

Kinkos dude: "Uhh. 38."

Me: "No, it's six into 125. That equals 21 (actually 20.83, but we'll round up since it's sheets of paper and they don't come in fractional sizes)."

Kinkos dude shrugs and wanders back to the printer area. When he comes back he's got several stacks of uniformly-sized business cards bearing my message. I don't bother counting them, I simply pay as quickly as possible so that we can leave.

But before I say goodbye to Kinkos (forever, I hope) I figured I might as well use the restroom. At least that seemed convenient and straightforward. Again, not the case. After washing my hands I turned to the paper towel dispenser, and pumped the lever a few times. Nothing came out. That's when I noticed the sign on the dispenser.

"Hand driers are more efficient and better for the environment. They prevent trees from being used as paper towels."

Oh. So that's why the towel dispenser is empty. Too lazy to remove it, they simply stopped filling it, and pasted a stupid sign about how it's better for the environment to use electricity than a renewable resource, like trees. If Kinkos was really concerned about the environment, they should encourage their staff to figure out how to fit more than six business card-sized graphics onto an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of card stock!

Little Black Ants

I'm locked in a ongoing battle with the little black ants. The initial invasion was definitely a surprise attack in the middle of the night. I woke in the morning to find my kitchen was now an occupied territory, and my cats had been compromised. Obviously the ants had made a treaty with the cats, as the cats were just watching them take their food. Attempts at negotiations with the cats stalled immediately, as their terms involved complete access to the TemperPedic bed at all times. Failure to negotiate with the cats forced me to turn to conventional warfare.

I gathered my ant baits and Ortho outdoor home defense and began a campaign of chemical warfare on the ants homelands. I systematically attacked all their strongholds, training centers, and weapon caches. Additionally I established complete air superiority. After several days of ground and air bombardment I deployed outdoor land mines (baits) and napalmed the rest of the yard (hose with poison spray). Unfortunately there where civilian casualties (a plant or two), but nothing that wasn't calculated. At this point I began to contemplate declaring victory.

The ants, however, regrouped and switched to a guerrilla warfare strategy. This involved suprise attacks on the cat food, a night time rush on the pantry, and daring raids into the living room. My large (20 pound cat) was also compromised and needed a bath after I found several live ants on her.

I called in mercenaries. They, too, laid waste to the land, sea and air. For several days afterwards the house was completely free of the ants. I thought it was time to declare total victory. I was dead wrong.

The ants struck in force on Thursday June 28th in an attempt to reoccupy the kitchen. It was a major battle, the vacuum (the ultimate ant killer) was deployed slightly before my position was overrun. The ants had shown me they were still a major threat.

I needed new tactics and new weapons... Over the next two days I perfected a concoction of Simple Green, Ortho Home Defense Max, and sugar. It didn't kill on contact but after 2 minutes it caused them to explode. It was devastating and disgusting. After extensive satellite surveillance (I'm tall), I deployed my new weapons in strategic locations.

Stay tuned for the outcome.....

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The DC Handshake

I had the pleasure of learning the DC Handshake the other day. For those people not familiar with the DC handshake I'll try and explain it, so that if you ever run into it you know how to do it properly.

The handshake starts out the normal way.

DC -> Hi, nice to meet you Joe.
You -> Nice to meet you too, Bob.

Minor pause.

DC -> So where did you go to school? (start of the dominant dog butt-sniffing ritual)
You -> I went to XYZ school.
DC -> I went to Ivy League XYZ school (Ivy is a trump card; you lose this round)
You -> Oh that is really interesting.
DC -> So what do you do for a living? (Next round of butt-sniffing)
You -> Oh I work for Company X as a Y.
DC -> I'm a partner in Law Firm X. (Setting you up for the money question)
You -> Wow that is really interesting.
DC -> So does your job pay pretty well? (Just to make sure you make less)
You -> Yeah it's alright.
DC -> Last year I made 200k + bonus (Just to clarify your failure)
You -> That's really impressive (At this point you have lost)
DC -> Nice to meet you. I'll catch up with you later (I won't be back; you suck)

Now, if you get in this situation the correct way to answer is the following:

DC -> So where did you go to school? (Start of the dominant dog butt-sniffing ritual)
You -> I graduated with Honors. (No school, just titles; it catches them off-guard)
DC -> I went to Ivy League XYZ school. (Now he's off guard and trying to recover)
You -> [Yawn...] So how much do you make? (Beat them to it)
DC -> I'm a partner in Law Firm X, and I make 200k + bonus.
You -> Not really enough money to live around here is it? How's your townhouse?
DC -> Uh, my town house is fine. (Might have to back down)
You -> Kind of sucks to have to live around other people, doesn't it? Do you have a yard?
DC -> It's actually really nice, the city is really excellent. (Translation: you asshole)
You -> How's traffic? I hear it sucks.
DC -> I don't have a car, I ride the metro.
You -> You make 200K and you don't have a car? Traffic must be hell! How are the seats on the metro?
DC -> Fine. I usually stand.
You -> Ever been mugged?
DC -> Nice meeting you, I have to run over there, and talk to XYZ.

You = Win :-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

2008 Campaign makes me cranky

Cranky is a little extra cranky today. About two months ago I started an experiment, a very simple one. Since the 2008 campaign seems to be heavily invested in using the Internet for publishing information and reaching out to the Gen-X crowd, they are using things like MySpace, Blogger, and other social networking sites. So...I thought I would see if I could actually get some real answers to my real questions. I put together a short list of issues, limited this list to 3 questions since I know people are busy, and sent it to every candidate that was running at the time.

I tried several different methods to get my questions to the right places. I used the "ask a question" button that existed on some candidate websites, I sent emails to addresses in the "contact us" pages and I tried a couple of other emails like "info@" and "candidateX@" addresses.

Since I don't want to get political today, I'm just going to post the results.

1. 25 Spam messages received about rallies.
2. 1 packet of information mailed to me, did not contain answers to questions.
3. 10 Spam messages received on answer to questions I didn't ask.
4. 1 email pointing me to new Obama ring tones. Interesting.....
5. 2 emails about debates on Yahoo.
6. 2 unsubscribe notices from Clinton's site, as the first time didn't work.
7. 3 other emails stating that it could take over 48 hours to remove me from their emails lists, just in case they wanted to spam me again very soon.

Oh well I tried.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Enough said, up down up down up down up down up down. I can't even post my cranky comments. Crap Tastic Comcast...

Columbia Shopping Hordes

I've already told you there isn't any food here, but what you might now know is that there isn't any shopping here either. The only places to shop are Wal-Mart, which as we all know is the evil empire, Target, which is a runner up for evil, and the Columbia Mall, which is full of pre-teens and teenagers. So, if you need something simple Tar'get and the 'Mart are your only choices.

Today I needed Cat Food and Ant Poison, because one, my cats are hungry, and two, the pest control guy can't seem to kill the ants in my kitchen. I set out for the Pet's Mart (we actually have one), and I was pleasantly surprised that, on a Saturday, the parking lot was empty. I then realized that it was empty because Best Buy moved out of the shopping center, and incidentally, out of Columbia. Best Buy realized that paying Columbia taxes was stupid, when they could just move two miles down the road and be way better off.

After the Pet's Mart experience I was really happy, because it didn't suck to get in and out of the parking lot. I prayed that finding my Ant Poison would be a just as enjoyable. Since I had on my "Wal-Mart. Your place for cheap plastic sh!t" T-Shirt, I assumed that Wal-Mart was a bad option for a good shopping experience. I went to Target.....

To get into Target you have two options, a four-lane road that you have to figure out how to cross, or a two-lane road that has two incorrectly timed lights. Doesn't sound that bad until you realize that the four-lane road is very busy, and you have to make a left across the oncoming traffic. The two-lane road is even worse; having two traffic lights in less than 50 feet.

Once you figure out how to actually get to the Target, you then have to figure out how to get a f*cking parking space. This is a pretty complex endeavour, because, as I said earlier, you only have three options for shopping in Columbia, so the place is packed with the Columbia Shopping Hordes.

The Hordes are made up of the following:

1. The front lines are the Elderly - The elderly run interference in the parking lot by standing in the middle of the road, or wandering aimlessly through the parking lot. If you get really unlucky they attempt to cross the road in front of you with a walker or some other slow mode of locomotion.

2. The second lines are the Soccer Moms - These ladies drive aimlessly through the parking lot looking for the best place to park. They take hours to do this, and most of the time they cut you off without even noticing. Then they unload their car, and twelve screaming children run out of it. Most of the time the kids run into the lanes of the parking lot and attempt to commit suicide. I like to honk at them, as it causes them to jump or cry. Either way, it's funny.

3. The third line is the Family Shopper - These people show up in force, mom, dad, kids, grandma, cousin, uncle, etc, all in the same mini-van or SUV looking to shop this store all day long. They have lists and are motived, but they have to carry a load of people with them everywhere they go. Normally they have two carts, and take up an entire aisle in the store. They bother you by always being in the aisle you need to be in, and taking up the entire thing. They can also be spotted by the cart size package of toilet paper they have.

4. The last line is the Asshole - These are the people that think the store belongs to them. The guy that parks his cart in the middle of the aisle, the 20-item guy in the 10-item-or-less express checkout line, the d!ck without a UPC on something, the open item guy, the lady that investigates every carton before moving to the next item, the pre-teen running through the store, the idiot who can't use the credit card machine and continues to swipe the card the wrong way, the store employee who doesn't know where something is and finally, the douche bag who can't make change.

After I navigated the hordes I left the store only to be greeted by the teenage parking lot party, that just so happened to be in my way. They had snarled traffic out of the parking lot for miles. The elderly, the soccer moms, and even the assholes couldn't figure out what to do. I gunned it, and they moved. Time for a drink.


Because Columbia is a suburban hamlet, it does not support independently-owned businesses; especially restaurants and coffee shops. Read "All You Can Eat Suck" for more on this phenomenon. This means our dining choices are limited to Ken-Taco-Hut, Dominato's and "a great little I-talian place called the Olive Garden" (an actual quote from a real, live moron!).

So on this fine, Saturday morning in the middle of June I decided to get some doughnuts and bagels. In my old neighborhood in Arlington, VA I had a choice of three places within walking distance - Pastries by Randolph (or Randy's Pie Shop, as my dad calls it), Cassat's (a coffee shop) or Parisienne Express (self-explanatory). All of these options included good coffee, baked goods made on the premises by the owner and a short line (never more than 2-3 minutes of waiting).

Here in Columbia we are fortunate to have a shopping center within walking/biking distance (biking recommended for expediency's sake). That's where the good fortune ends. The rather paltry offerings of said shopping center consist of: Giant Food grocery store, Royal Farms convenience store, a dry cleaners, a sub-standard Asian joint, a sub-standard Italian joint, a Wings-to-Go (yet untested), a travel agency (who uses them anymore in this age of Orbitz and Travelocity?!), a UPS store (next to Giant, probably the most useful business in the center) and a Frankenstein-like combination of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins, which I refer to as Dunkin'Robbins. Note the auspicious and vexing lack of a liquor mart.

For the purposes of this morning's errand, I knew I would be forced to patronize the Dunkin'Robbins. I scooted up there on my bike, looking forward to the guilty indulgence of a doughnut assortment and an everything bagel with cream cheese on the side. This was only my second time using this particular Dunkin'Robbins, and the last time didn't go so well because the store was out of everything except for cranberry-granola bagels and strawberry doughnuts (blech!). So I had some fear in the back of my mind, especially when I saw the swim meet at the neighborhood pool (the horror!). Would the donuts be gone? Would the line be long?

Indeed, the line was long. Out the door, in fact. I walked in at the same time as about five other people. "Jesus Christ!" exclaimed one man, who turned angrily and got back in his car. The other people wandered off in the direction of Royal Farms. I chose to stick it out. Fifteen minutes later I found myself before an impatient cashier who demanded to know if she could "help" me in broken English. Sadly, the everything bagels were gone. So were all the other bagels, except for the dreaded cranberry-granola (they had plenty of those on hand). Fortunately, the doughnut selection was in better shape. Reluctantly I chose the last sesame bagel (battered beyond recognition) and four donuts.

Why was this such an ordeal? Well, first of all Dunkin'Robbins doesn't make any of their donuts or bagels on the premises. Their inventory is held hostage by the logistics capabilities of some central distribution facility. If they don't deliver enough of a popular item the store is out of that item until the next delivery. They also had about five people standing around with only one register open. The line was 20 people long, and customers were ordering donuts and ice cream. However, nobody was standing in the Robbins section of Dunkin'Robbins. Therefore, the people ordering ice cream held up the people ordering donuts and vice-versa. As a final touch, the doughnuts are hidden behind a rather tall counter. Customers have no way of browsing the available doughnut choices until they are actually being helped, and usually the person ahead of them in line was still finishing their transaction, effectively blocking the view. Brilliant!

This never happened at Randy's Pie Shop. A refrigerated glass case, displaying the artistry of Randy's expert pastry-making runs the length of the store. Staff are spread all along this counter helping customers. When you enter the store, you simply take a number and are helped as soon as your number is called, which generally coincides with the amount of time required to look over the selections.

Although Randy's staff consists of the standard retail workforce fare, teens, recent arrivals (immigrants) and grizzled veterans, all behaved like professionals. They were always courteous, clean and knew how to make change. Sadly, this cannot be said of the Dunkin'Robbins staff. Of the five people behind the counter this morning only one was working, the grizzled veteran who also happened to have weak English skills. She encouraged her teenage co-worker (who was laughing and flirting with the two "toaster jockeys," who were also f*cking off) to start helping customers behind me. Remember that I couldn't see which donuts/bagels were still in stock because the person ahead of me was still paying (one register, cashier with no math skills), so how could the person behind me place an order without shoving me aside? The resulting chaos left us all frazzled.

So what do I recommend? I think Dunkin'Robbins should add a walk-up window, a drive-thru window and a walk-in shop with two separate lines that are fully-staffed and clearly marked. I also think they should add in-house baking capabilities. How hard can it be? Subway bakes their own *bread* (I use the term lightly), so why can't Dunkin'? Next, I would invest in (as part of their corporate responsibility program) developing high school math curricula that teaches the next generation of cashiers and retail managers HOW to MAKE CHANGE. An important skill, even if they never work retail.

Finally, I would add a freakin' liquor store to the Columbia Palace shopping center. I know I needed a drink after my donut run, and wouldn't it be nice to make booze-buying a walkable endeavour? Perhaps I will lobby MADD to get the licensing process started...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


What is it with Contractors these days. I'm trying to pay you to come over and do something I don't want to do. I'm even willing to pay you more than what it is actually worth. Yet somehow contractors in Columbia won't even come over to give me a god damn quote.

I hate you Contractor...

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Trash Man Cometh

I was so relieved that the trash guys came and collected today. They were really late, and a part of me wondered if Columbia had decided not to collect trash anymore.

I can see it now, a proclamation in the Long Reach Community newsletter, or even more likely, a cryptic note on the CA website stating the following:

"In response to the rapid filling of the landfill on I-70 the Columbia Association will no longer collect trash from private residences. Residents must provide their own trash removal services. Entry to the landfill requires a Class 5 commercial vehicle and commercial waste removal permit. Homeowners are required to remove trash in a timely fashion, or will face fines and penalties as determined by the Columbia Association bylaws."

That's pretty much the junk policy. If you have furniture or other large items that are too big for the garbage truck, you are out of luck. You must drive them up to the landfill in your own vehicle. For those of us who do not own a pick-up truck or SUV, we simply have to let the junk accumulate. We've tried bribing various delivery services to remove old items when dropping off new ones (grill, sofa, pool table, etc...), but alas, they wanted no part of our Sanfordia.

If you cannot remove the junk, you must hide it. Under no circumstances can junk be left out in plain view. It might offend the neighbors, or more likely, it might offend the Columbia Association. However, the definition of junk is rather fluid.

On our street there is a house that is poorly-maintained, and host to a variety of junk-like items (a dead car, an old storm door, various bright orange plastic cones and several cast-off pieces of styrofoam). For some reason, this house does not get penalized, or if they do, the penalties are not sufficient to motivate the owner/renter to dispose of his junk.

Yet another neighbor had the audacity to build a pagoda-style enclosure for their hot tub. For this grievous offense, there was indeed a penalty stiff enough to encourage immediate action. The Long Reach association (a localized *arm* of the Columbia Association), slapped them with a threat of steep monetary fines if they didn't demolish their pagoda and re-build it in a style more in harmony with the rest of the neighborhood. Apparently, their pagoda was *too* Asian. A quick walk past the surrounding houses in their cul-de-sac showed a number of yards with distinctly zen-like fixtures. So what made their pagoda too Asian? And what is wrong with tasteful Asian styling on a pagoda that hides a hot tub, and it's possibly naked bathers, from view?

Sadly, we'll probably never know the answers to these questions. In the meantime, I will continue to count the orange plastic cones and track the movements of styrofoam chunks, hoping and praying that they will cross the property line so that I may dispose of them in the proper manner.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Community Mailboxes

So who thought Community Mailboxes where a good idea? Is it so damn hard for the post office guy to walk around to all the houses and deliver the mail? Is the post office guy so lazy that a community mail box was the only way to solve the age ole problem of "where the f is my mail?"

Was somebody sitting around going, "People will talk to each other while they get the mail everyday, that's a great idea."

Are they a retard? I don't want to talk to my neighbors. Do you?

So this guy and his MiniVan

So there is this guy that drives around Columbia in a mini-van. The mini-van is covered in:

"Save America Now... Stop Hillary Clinton"
"Save your freedom... Stop Hillary Clinton Now"
"We are all gonna die.. Stop Hillary Clinton"

I'm pretty much with the guy, however, I think he needs better signs. Cause all the signs are taped on the side of his van. That's gonna take this paint off.. I can't believe the Republican party doesn't have enough money to get this guy some good ole magnetic signs.

Additionally I want some more signs

"Oral isn't sex... Follow Hillary Clinton"
"Cheating is ok... Follow Hillary Clinton"
"I'm not in it for the money... Follow Hillary Clinton"
"Bill is really sweet... Vote for Hillary Clinton"

California Tortilla

For all the suck food in Columbia. California Tortilla currently sucks the least. It still sucks, but it sucks less than most places.

Reasons it still sucks.

1. The Burritos are bad.
2. They need staff, as the line was out the door.
3. They have new tables and they wobble.

Reasons it doesn't suck as much as other places.
1. Taco's = good
2. Lots of hot sauce
3. Staff was actually nice.

Columbia (McGaw Plaza)
8874 McGaw Road, Suite E
Columbia, MD 21045
Phone: (410) 290-9966

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Who rides the bus?

Howard County has a bus, in fact, it probably has like three or four of them. They are ugly green monsters that run on diesel, or some other silly fuel. When they accelerate up a hill they make lots and lots of noise, and then go very slowly. Every morning I have to listen to this stupid bus pass my house, and every morning around 7am it wakes me.

The neighborhood where I live doesn't have a single home less than $425,000. Why the f!@#ck is this bus on my street?

For those of you who don't live in Columbia, this might sound like a mean statement. Especially if you live in San Fran or D.C., or some place where a bus is actually used for commuting to your job. Here in Columbia, the bus takes people who can't afford a car past houses they can't afford to a shopping center where, if they are lucky, they might find a minimum-wage job. Hardly a vehicle for upward mobility.

I'll recap for the people who don't see my point. If you can buy a $425K house, you can buy a car. You don't ride the bus. Especially a bus that doesn't get you any closer to the job markets in Baltimore, D.C. or Northern Va. The people who do ride the bus don't live in the neighboorhood; and the bus doesn't go where they need to go. So why is there a bus stop on my street?

By the way I sent an email to the Columbia Association about this, and they told me to send an email to Howard County. So I sent an email to Howard County, and they told me to bite it.

All you can eat suck

All the crappy restaurants in Columbia got together and joined forces with . The one stop place for all the sh!@#$ty food you can find in Columbia. But at 6pm on a Sunday when it's raining and your too lazy to cook anything cause the guy at the grocery store destroyed your dinner, it's a great place to go.

Unfortunately the entire site is full of SQL injection, cross site scripting, and is most likely running a vulnerable version of IIS. I've never actually cared to look, but I've been told that if you remove the tip amount and leave it blank you'll get an awesome database error back. I would assume that every field is like this.

Please do not use CrankyInColumbia's CC. Cause then I'll be Cranky and in your city.

What the F, Bowling Alley

Since there isn't anything to do in Columbia, you have to settle for what is around. So I settled for some bowling with by buddies. It actually sounded like a hella fun time. We set out for the bowling alley.

Brunswick Columbia Lanes
(410) 381-7750 | 7100 Carved Stone Columbia, MD

Everything started off pretty well, except for the smoking ban going into effect the day we went. You ever heard of a Bowling Alley where you can't smoke? Oh well I'll live.... At least the bar wasn't banned also....

After a couple pitchers of beer, I was getting hungry for some serious crap. Images of hot dogs, burgers, chicken fingers, nachos ran through my head. So I headed to the concessions stand to order my food. First off there was no one manning their post, so I had to yell over to the manager guy running the place and ask for some assistance, he finally found the person who would take my order. I set off asking for a burger and a patty melt, cause I was both drunk and hungry. The lady behind the counter stopped me half way through my order to inform me the grill wasn't on. I assumed this just meant that I would be awhile before my order was ready, so I continued on. She stopped me again and said "The Grill isn't on" to which i replied "So?" she then informed me that the only thing I could have was a hot dog or chicken fingers, cause the fryer and the heat oven where both on. I asked if she could turn the grill on and I was informed that it would not be possible to do that. I ordered the hot dog and chicken fingers, and told the lady what lane number we where on. See then informed me she was not a waitress and would not deliver my food. I would have to return in an unknown amount of time to get it.

So the lady is paid to run the grill but it's not on, and it's too f'n hard to walk 10 feet to deliver my food when it's ready. Please explain to me what the F this person is does here? By the way the chicken fingers and hot dog were 10 dollars, and the beer was 12.50 a pitcher. For crappy YingLing (however you spell it, it still sucks).

Stupid Giant

Today I was standing in line at Giant loading my cart onto the checkout belt. So I align my valuable crush able items in specific last order, so my jar of pickles doesn't end up on my carton of eggs and pray that the kid behind the counter will get the hint. Unfortunately since the kid behind the counter hasn't ever purchased groceries before, he begins to destroy everything I've carefully selected for dinner tonight.

When I grew up bagging groceries was a fine art form performed by a courteous highly skilled professional, who if you shopped there on a weekly basis actually knew your name. Additionally if all you had was a small hand basket they would unload if for you, and put the basket in a magic place where some other courteous store employee would restock it back to it's correct location. These days the kid behind the counter is playing his Nintendo DS, smashing your stuff, and complaining that you need to unload the basket before he or she will actually scan your items. Additionally the little prick makes 10 to 15 bucks an hour, doing less than what is required.

So I get my groceries to the car, and put them in the trunk, and I look around for the place to put my cart, and realize that there is only one in the entire 100 acre parking lot. Genius, I'll walk this f'n thing all the way over there, wobbling wheel and all. I get this cart over to the proper place, and a store employee is picking up all the carts to take back to the store. So I ask her if she would like to take my cart, the response I got was "Nope" I only need to take these 5 carts back, just put yours in the cart parking place. Its not like you got to take them far lady, in these parts you park them outside next to the door, so they can get rained and snowed on. In civilized parts of this world the shopping carts go in the store............


So for a long time I've had this feeling that everything in Columbia, MD sucks. So to prove my point I'm going to start documenting all the stuff that continues to suck in Columbia. Not that anyone really cares.

Just for starters I'll hit on a view easy to explain ones, that don't need to much detail to understand.

1. Howard County, where Columbia is located just instituted a smoking ban. This sucks, we, as in the people of Howard County didn't even get to vote on it. The County just decided one day that this was the way it's gonna be. This pretty much caused all the bars in Columbia to close immediately cause, they sucked to begin with, but now with no smoking all the people that went there would rather smoke and drink at home now.

2. There isn't anything to do in Columbia. The food sucks, there are only limited chain restraunts, and the mom and pop restraunts are terrible. I'll write about them later in more detail.

3. The people here suck.

4. Columbia states - "We are between DC and Baltimore it is a great location" - What is really should say, is you are 20 minutes from Baltimore and 2 hours from DC, cause your gonna sit on 495 for days.

5. No one here ever learned how to merge into traffic. People come to complete stops getting on the highway, and then attempt to merge at 10 miles an hour. They then wonder why Semi Trucks keep killing them.

6. The Super Markets blow. You can choose from a run down SafeWay, or a run down Gaint. Both of them make sure that every retard highschool kid has a job, so they can break your eggs and smash your bread. Also they don't stock any Organic foods, or high end items. Good luck finding 1 item in the entire store that doesn't contain 10 pounds of Trans Fats.