Sunday, January 24, 2010

YOU'RE A FUCKING DOUCHEBAG :-)

In the fall Kelley took a Spanish class that required an incredibly overpriced workbook. Instead of buying the book at the college bookstore, we bought it on Amazon.

Since Kelley needed the workbook quickly so she could do her assignments, I decided to order from someone local. I found a seller who advertised that the book would be shipped "next day" and that he was located in New Jersey.

Neither claim was true. The book could not have been shipped the next day (though it did arrive inside of the dates promised by Amazon). It was shipped from California. That's fine. The problem is that the workbook had a bunch of pages ripped out. Not just any pages, either. Gone were those pages containing the assignments a student would submit. The "work" pages from the workbook were missing.

On December 14 I wrote the seller to explain that the book he sent me was worthless to me:

The book I ordered from you is a workbook used in a Spanish class. Pages with the exercises on them were ripped out. These pages are essential because they are our homework assignments. As a result, the book you sent me is worthless. I am writing to request a full refund, including shipping charges. thank you.

I never received a response, so on December 23 I filed a complaint with Amazon. On January 1 I received a complete refund from Amazon.

On January 23 I got the following email from the seller:

MAIL ME THE BOOK BACK IMMEDIATELY AS STATED BY A2Z CONTRACT; BY JANUARY 28th.
YOU HAVE UNTIL JANUARY 28th TO HAVE THE BOOK REDELIVERED BEFORE I TAKE YOU TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT. YOU WILL RECEIVE AN OFFICIAL NOTICE OF BEING SERVED ON FEBRUARY 4th CERTIFIED AND SIGNATURE REQUIRED BY THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. YOU'LL HAVE 30 DAYS BEFORE YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP FOR THE COURT APPEARANCE IN THE ORANGE COUNTY COURT HOUSE.

p.s. YOU'RE A FUCKING DOUCHEBAG :-)

I really hate the resurgence of "douchebag" as a term of derision. But I love the little smiley face he included. I'm not entirely sure how to take it, however. I responded with:

According to Amazon I am not required to return the defective item you sent me. http://www.amazon.com//gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=13832201#noreturn

But you didn't provide a return address so that I could return the item if I wanted to. What is your mailing address and phone number.

I sort of hope he decides to waste his time trying to sue someone who lives in New York in a California small claims court.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No Words Needed, Part 2

Words may not be needed, but they help.





















No Words Needed, Part 1

Words are not needed to tell this story.






























Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Enthusiasm For Repertory Theater Has Been Renewed

I don't mind going to see small theater productions featuring friends.  With one memorable exception in Harlem that involved a homeless woman interrupting a performance, I seldom feel the need to encourage other people to attend.  But last night Kelley and I attended a performance put on by The Complete Theater Company that I really enjoyed.

Bob Brown is a friend and former coworker of Kelley's.  She describes him as one of the nicest people she's ever met.  At one point Bob confided in Kelley that he had a dream of trying acting.  Kelley made her living as an actor and comedian for many years, so she was hoping that he would follow his dream.

Through a series of events that she ascribes to fate - and that I think was just dumb luck - Kelley learned Bob was going to be performing this weekend.  So on a cold Saturday night we set out to the Richmond Shepard Theatre to watch The Original One-Act Festival.

The performance was a collection of 6 one-act plays, all of which were surprising creative, interesting, well written.  Despite the fact that each play was only one act, the characters were all developed to the point that I cared as much about them as any character who is developed over the course of 2 hours.  The dialog was smart and funny.  My favorites were "Run. Run. Stop." and "Compass Rose".

And the acting was equally good.  Bob did a great job, as did pretty much every actor.  There was very little of the over-acting or under-acting that I expect when seeing from small productions. 

I'm not a theater connoisour by any stretch, but last night was every bit as entertaining as most of the Broadway plays and musicals I've seen, with a fraction of the expense and hassle.  Unfortunately the last performance of The Original One-Act Festival is happening as I write this, so you won't be able to see it for yourself.  I hope the show was successful.  The people who put it on deserve to be very proud of their work.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Cat Was Never Sexually Molested

Some people out there would have you believe that, prior to being adopted by me, that my cat was abused by a sex offender in Oregon. Not just abused, but sexually abused. There is no evidence whatsoever to support this claim.


I was never molested.  Now, can you please leave me alone?

The rumor started because one person heard an animal abuse story from a probation officer. Through the power of this person's imagination - and imagination alone - the victim of this story became my cat. Almost 10 years later this person continues to besmirch the reputation of my pet for her amusement.

My cat was never sexually abused. The reason why my cat was surrendered to the Oregon Humane Society seems to have been that her owner got a dog.


Taffeta's adoption record.

Don't believe me? I was doing some cleaning this morning and I found the original paperwork I received when I took her home. Of course, I don't expect the lies about my cat to stop any more than I expect that certain OTHER people will stop incorrectly calling the Astoria Column the Astor Column, but a man can dream.

Monday, January 4, 2010

You Should See Talhotblond

I take back every disparaging word I've muttered under my breath and every time I rolled my eyes at Kelley as she watched what seemed to be an endless variety of true crime stories on an equally endless variety of basic cable channels. I was misguided. Now I understand that. She was, as usual, right.

What I didn't get is pretty simple really. When you're drilling for oil you probably end up with a lot of empty holes. That doesn't mean there isn't oil under there somewhere. Most of the time there isn't, but you might just hit black gold. And that's just what happened last night with Talhotblond.


In my own defense, I must say that a lot of the shows she watches are pretty bad. For example, before we were rewarded with Talhotblond we endured Held Hostage, a Lifetime dramatization of a true story that, despite featuring dynamite and its possible application to a child as a form of punishment, still managed to thoroughly disappoint.

Kelley just stumbled upon a documentary titled Talhotblond on MSNBC last night. She settled on it as soon as she realized it involved murder. I started paying attention because of the strange way the story of a murder was being told. It almost seemed like the narrator was mocking individuals involved in the story. He kept explaining that someone ends up dead, but his delivery style was incongruous with this sad ending.

Here's how the documentary describes itself:

Talhotblond is the true story (and screen name) of a beautiful teenage vixen who uses Internet game rooms to lure men into her cyberspace web.

When she discovers she's been double crossed and lied to by one of her victims, she wants revenge, and unleashes a fantasy on line that escalates into real life murder... all because of a girl no one ever met in person.

Not another internet pervert story...

I assumed this would be just another of those To Catch A Predator stories, featuring gross, creepy, disturbing and pathetic characters. The people in Talhotblond are definitely gross, creepy, disturbing and pathetic, but these people have elevated strange behavior to an art. No matter how questionable your own online exploits may be, they are nothing compared to what these people did.

When the story's final twist was revealed, Kelley and I both screamed "NO WAY!" It's the kind of story that, had nobody been hurt, would make you laugh your ass off. Instead, it's a really sad reminder of how dangerous and unpredictable people can be.

Now I purposefully haven't included a link to the Talhotblond website. I wouldn't have enjoyed the show nearly as much had I known anything about it, especially the ending. The site is easy enough to find if you want to read about it, but I strongly recommend watching the documentary before you do.