Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gone to the dogs

In most places, dog owners are required by law to pick up after their pets. North Little Rock is no different. In fact, they provide baggies in popular dog-walking areas. So why is it that for the third time in my month living here, do I find a trail of presents in the stairwell?
My apartment building markets itself as high class "Luxury Apartment Homes." There are expensive cars in the gated parking garage, a Wine Room where people can store their vino in a nice wood cabinet under ideal conditions, beautiful people sunning themselves at two pools, etc. But there are also designer toy dogs who apparently can't hold it till they get outside, and owners who are either too good to pick up their poo, or think their crap doesn't stink and neither does their dogs'. They leave the designer turds right in the middle of the stairwell, to be warmed throughout the day so its aroma may spread up all five floors, so everyone can enjoy it.
Is it so hard to pick up your dog crap? Its not my responsibility; I don't have a dog. Its not the maintenance guys' job to clean up after your dog either. Its the owners' jobs.
So, go grab a free baggie, and pick up your crap. Better yet, take the damn animal OUTSIDE to do his business.

Friday, August 22, 2008

What's with Customer Service?

What has happened to customer service? We put up with steadily declining customer service issues every day. I run into tons of problems every time I move. Cable, internet, phone, etc. I can say, so far, that DirecTv has decent service. They seem to be one of the few that understand that I have a job and can't be home to meet a technician at 11AM. They scheduled me for a 12-5 appointment, but the tech called and said he came by at 2PM while I was at work, and he scheduled me for his last stop of the day at 5pm. He was already in my building so it worked out for everyone. Great job!
The folks at AT&T are another story. It was a month from the time I called to start my DSL service that I actually had a reliable internet connection. The tech showed up a week after that. They kept trying to schedule my appointment between 8am and 5pm. I politely told them that I have a job which expects me to be there during those hours. Sure I get off early a lot of days, but my schedule usually has me there till 3 or 4 pm.
Most people have a regular 9-5 job. How do these companies expect consumers to be home during normal business hours? They have jobs, but they don't seem to think anyone else does.
A friend had to call the cable company today after work, at about 4:30PM. They had not only shown up EXACTLY when he said he wouldn't be available, but tried to schedule him for next week. He politely told the woman on the other end of the phone that next week was simply unacceptable. After explaining that we cannot just take the day off, she finally agreed to schedule an appointment for tomorrow morning since our schedule has us coming in around noon.
It would take me a whole post to talk about how computers have taken all the intelligence out of customer service, so I'll leave that for the next time a representative tells me "well, sir, the computer won't let us do that."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why Waste Money On Education

This is an older rant, transferred from facebook.

I'm not talking about paying for college or even to go to a good private high school or grade school. I went to private school from K-12 and college, as did many of my friends.
My question is, why does the government even bother pissing away money on public education. I've discovered it doesn't work. I just read a run-on sentence on a forum that was only rivaled by the next poster and his marathon of a speech. Both lacked any sort of punctuation except ellipses, which were found in abundance. Do they replace a period? I was never taught that technique to end a sentence...
I'm glad some of you caught that.

For those that didn't, you problaby wouldnt n otice the spelending errors in this sennance ithre. I had a hard time understanding what these idiots were writing because they've obviously never heard of a spell check. Right now, this post is bleeding red from the automatic spell checker in Firefox. It doesn't understand my sense of irony.

The posts that inspired this rant are not isolated incidents. I am a member of another forum that has rules about grammar and spelling, so readers don't start thinking that all pilots are deaf, dumb, and illiterate. I fully support that move. Take a minute to proofread what you publish. I do it for everything from 2-line emails to posts like this. It takes 5 minutes.

And before I get a flood of emails about being some elitist, spoiled, rich private school kid (because I doubt anyone would catch the fact that I began this sentence with a conjunction) I do know plenty of publicly educated people who do not read, write, and spell like they are natives of Greenbow Alabama or Lead medal winners in the West Virginia Special Olympics. I also know that these flaming piles of stupid that are causing Nuns the world over to roll in their graves did not have the benefit of private schooling, where we have F's that mean FAIL. The verbal performances I have been privy to would have been met with poor grades, then extra help or tutoring to bring the little dolt up to speed. Obviously, these dunces were wards of the state somewhere where the only thing they were taught was that failure is still rewarded with a Good Enough Diploma. Education is not something to be recited from a lesson plan regardless of individual needs. It is obvious that no child is left behind; the trip never started.

If you disagree, feel free to reply. I will proofread every comment before I reply. Any post that would be rewarded with a ruler across the knuckles will be deleted promptly, unless it's funny.

Here it is

After Dad, amused by my recent emails, suggested I start writing, I started thinking. If Dad likes it, everyone will. So here it is.
The blog carries the only decent name I could come up with: Outbreak. Its the name I was given by my peers at Navigator school, and the only "call sign" of its type that actually stuck. Don't ask how I got it. It is a much disputed topic within the former Party Flight as to whether it resulted from a sneeze or a cough, but it doesn't really matter.
I'm just starting out with this whole blog thing, so don't expect any sort of regular frequency for a while, if ever. Topics will be widely varied, consisting of whatever is on my mind and I deem worthy of posting. I also don't know the mechanics of this site yet, but as I learn, the blog may become more complex. It will come in time.
From what I can tell so far, the site does allow for comments. I welcome comments, but I have some guidelines. First, my biggest peeve on the internet is the functionally illiterate slamming away at keyboards without punctuation, spell check, or any indication of coherent thought. I will not tolerate the murder of the queen's English, so to speak. I will edit or delete replies containing run on sentences, horribly misspelled words, or wanton misuse of "there," "their," and "they're. On the same note, if you notice any instance of improper grammar or misspelling, call me out. In the rare instance this occurs, I'll be happy to fix it.
Second, keep the comments constructive, appropriate, clean, and on topic. I'll delete anything that doesn't, at least loosely, relate to the topic at hand or I wouldn't want Mom reading, because she just might. If you can't adhere to these simple guidelines (you know who you are), just email me or IM me.
Finally, for my protection and that of those I'm sure I'm going to talk about, I won't be using real names. Please don't use any in the comments either. If you want to post your own name, go for it. Otherwise, stick to aliases. I'm sure there will be some frequent appearances.
Thats all I got at the moment. Welcome to my ramblings.