Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bad Shipping Karma
I ordered Canon's new XH-A1, High-Definition video camcorder for some projects that I've got coming up, and I have to say that I'm rather disgusted with my continued bad luck with UPS and the companies that ship through them. The camera and its accessories are to be delivered in the form of three separate packages from two different e-tailers. The store that's shipping the camera itself, J&R Music and Computer world, sat on the order for 2 and a half days before shipping it out. If they'd shipped it a few hours earlier, it would have been due to arrive tomorrow, Wednesday. As it is, with the Thanksgiving Holiday, it won't be arriving until next Monday (13 days after my order), assuming, of course it arrives on its scheduled time; which brings me to the third package. This package contains my Pelican case and it shipped out a bit earlier, so it was due to arrive today. Being the control-freak that I am, I watch my tracking numbers rather closely and was thus astonished to see it arrive in Salt Lake City on Monday Morning, in plenty of time to be delivered the next day, only to inexplicably sit there for a day and a half. Now it's on its way to my home town for delivery a day late. Go figure.

I have the world's worst shipping Karma. I recall spending a Christmas in Ireland without a Christmas package that my parents had sent for me. The package arrived a month later after being sent to
Iceland. A few Christmases previous, my parents had lovingly ordered some computer parts for me that didn't arrive on time. They finally came a few weeks later minus one part - the video card. This was back when the PCI bus was new, so naturally I had no other video card that would work with the parts. It was two more months before that part came. At least it worked.

Now, before I get too tied up in myself, let me just post this little reminder that I do realize that I'm blessed above pretty much the entire rest of the Earth. I'm lucky to be getting this camera at all, even if it
is a little late. I read an article yesterday about the conditions in Somali refugee camps that just made me sick. God bless the USA and if we can stop one more innocent person from being raped, murdered, sold, suppressed or otherwise victimized by deposing of a regime of obvious evil, then I'm all for it. How's that for a meandering post? I do have bad shipping Karma though.

Edit: Apparently I also have bad "Font Karma," (Heh heh, say that five times fast and it comes out as rude puncuation). I just can't seem to get the above text to be the right size. Alas.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Hated. . .

In keeping with the holiday season, I think it's time that I exposed my Scrooge-ish side to everyone. The above image is my primary target of late, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Daily calendar that, more often not, leaves me wondering how some people get published. (Jenny and I fondly refer to it as "Chicken Poop for the Soul.") The calendar uses one page for Saturday and Sunday and always seems to pick a particularly nauseating story for these holdovers. The above is again, illustrative. The writing is generally horrible, there are meaningless tangents in some pieces, and the feel-goodness of them all is dependent on one's assumption that everyone starts broken and needs warm fuzzies to fix them. A formulaic piece could thus be written:

"Jerry and his Mom were starving refugees in war-torn Wherezitstan. One day, Jerry's Mom, who had enjoyed milking cows and splashing her young cousins when they came to visit from neighboring Laurelstanslamibad with the fresh cows milk that they had just taken from Smush, their prize milk cow that never failed to love everyone and liked Sushi and hot-tubbing anytime, died. As Jerry's Mom lay dying, she looked into the clouds and smiled and Jerry knew that even though she wasn't with him now, she had truly loved and the puppies she'd raised by hand would not go to waste. After that, Jerry's life changed and he started doing better in school, or at least he would have if his school hadn't been blown up. This made Jerry's neighbor, old Mr. Bentley, smile."

They would then title this story something like "Puppy love," or who knows what else. I hate that Calendar.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Alaskan Memories,
A little over a year ago, I found myself in Alaska for two weeks living out of an RV with three other people (including my Father) whilst shooting a television show in the back country. On a rare trip to town, we set about looking for something to eat. On foot, and hungry enough to settle for just about anything, my Dad pointed at the nearest eatery-looking joint and expressed an immediate desire to eat there. Dan-dan the Cameraman, however, inexplicably letting his street-sense prevail over his appetites, suggested that we move on farther up the road to a building that at least had windows. "No," replied my father, "this'll do fine." Upon this rebuff, Dan, also seeking to hasten the close of this dispute, wrenched the door open, revealing a dark, smoky interior with dollar bills glued to the wall and the ceiling, and casting an apparently unwelcome ray of light onto the dripping, bearded face of a grizzled old Alaskan, who had, it seemed, been sleeping face-down in his tall frosty beverage. His lower jaw hung limp and swayed haphazardly in the light breeze blowing through the door. As the Man's foggy eyes struggled in vain to focus on the bright shaft of light suddenly heaved on his unwilling person, Dan simply gestured toward the hairy spectacle and said simply "See Lynn? These are not your people." And threw the door shut again. I've often reflected on this incident and wondered how it must have registered with the probably-sleeping drunk. Without warning, whatever thoughts/dreams were meandering across his mushy mind were interrupted by a shaft of light and four silhouettes, one of which gestured toward him and said simply "See Lynn? These are not your people." Upon which the door slammed and the vision closed. Does he remember it today? Does he know if it was real, or did he just plant his face back down and drown? These are probably questions I will take to my grave.

Here is a picture of this incident not happening, but the guy on the right has the right look about him, minus the smile.