Buy this, get that free!

2009/07/14 at 21:41

Katie came home from the grocery store the other day with a package of candy bars, which is unusual. When I asked her about it, she said that she got chocolate bars free with the purchase of Lean Cuisines. I didn’t really believe her, so I found the ad online. Sure enough: “Buy four Lean Cuisine entrees, get . . . Nestle candy free.”
heb_ad.jpg

Just because you can…

2009/07/07 at 11:43

…does not mean that you should. Case in point: Fancy Fast Food.

“Squeeze him and he farts!”

2009/07/06 at 09:16

walter.jpg
Walter the Farting Dog plush toy. (Good book, strange product tie-in).
(And you thought I was talking about myself!)

Good service and bad

2009/04/20 at 14:13

A few weeks ago, we bought a new Maytag washing machine from our local Home Depot. It was delivered and installed a few days later, on a Tuesday. We did a few loads of wash without incident. On Thursday evening, it stopped in the middle of a wash cycle and we smelled a burning rubber odor. It had died.
The next day, I stopped by the Home Depot and talked to the guys in the appliance department. They said that they had to talk to Maytag in order to see how to proceed. They called me back later in the afternoon to inform me that Maytag would send a repairman out the following Tuesday to assess the situation.
My wife and I found that really unacceptable for two reasons: 1.) we’d be without a working washing machine for at least a few more days, and 2.) Home Depot was passing the buck to Maytag for a product we bought from them.
I talked with the Home Depot guy again and he said that they would like to help us out by just swapping out our dead washer with another from their stock. The manager would could make this happen would be in on Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday afternoon, the manager called and made arrangements to do the swap. I was not home, but my wife said that the guys who brought over the new washer were clearly not trained appliance installers; they had multiple difficulties in getting the one washer out and the new one installed. In the process, they managed to put one large gouge and several cuts in the linoleum floor in the laundry room and to scratch our hardwood floors.
We were happy that Home Depot had tried to circumvent Maytag’s bureaucracy and to provide good customer service, but we were not too pleased with the floor damage.
The Home Depot store filed a claim with their insurance company for the damage. The adjustor came out a couple of days later, and we received a check a few days after that. The amount that they awarded us will pay for the damage and then some.

More billengual teachers needed

2009/03/29 at 12:27

This is a photo of my television during this morning’s local KXAN news broadcast (click for bigger version):
More Billengual Teachers Needed

Powerless parents

2009/02/17 at 09:38

According to this NYT article, the group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood recently discovered what every parent of a public-school child has known for years: a lot of the stuff that Scholastic is selling in the flyers that they send home with kids is not books. Based on this shocking finding, CCFC has started a ‘Put the Book Back in Book Club‘ campaign.
What gets me is this (from the NYT article):

Susan Linn, director of the campaign, said she had received complaints from parents who were concerned that their children were being sold toys, games, makeup and other items under the guise of a literary book club that is promoted in classrooms.

For parents like this, I have one piece of advice: if you don’t want your kids buying junk, don’t let them. Do you really need to complain to an anti-consumer watchdog group about it?
When Samuel brings the Scholastic flyers home, he inevitably asks to buy a toy, not a book. No duh, he’s a kid. I know this might come as a shock to some, but I actually tell him what he can buy: sometimes I let him get a toy; sometimes I tell him he can choose a book, but most of the time, I just tell him ‘no.’
Side note: I always just assumed that schools send these flyers home because the school benefits financially in some way from the sales it generates. If that’s true, it’s no obvious on the Scholastic web site (not surprising). Is my assumption correct? If so, can any teachers or school administrators explain the arrangement?

Search engine fail

2009/02/10 at 10:48

I’ve been a Flickr user for several years. Some time back, Flickr started offering detailed stats on your photo stream. My most viewed photo–which has almost double the views as my second-most viewed photo–is Neck tumor dog.
I thought that was curious, so I drilled down into the stats. Images.google.com is, by far, the top referrer for this photo. No surprise there. What did surprise me is the search terms that led people to my photo. Below is a screen shot of the search terms. Click on the image for a larger version.
I think it’s safe to conclude that not a single person who viewed my photo via Google image search found what he or she was looking for.
neck_tumor_dog.png

From the ‘no duh’ department

2009/01/29 at 17:04

News headline: Job searches fastest-growing Internet category

What I’ve learned on my sick day

2009/01/22 at 14:20

I’m home today nursing a bad cold. Here’s what I’ve learned: our dogs’ dinner time is about 5:00 p.m. Tippie starts pacing nervously at around 2:00 p.m.
I knew already that Tippie gets nervous before dinner time, but on other days when I’m home, there’s enough going on that I didn’t notice that it starts this early. Today, it’s pretty much just me on the couch with the dogs.
Considering Tippie’s advanced age and decrepitude, I guess I should be glad to see that she still has enough life in her to pace all afternoon.

Welcome to January in Austin

2009/01/20 at 14:49

It seems like half my office is out with that uniquely central Texas winter affliction: cedar fever. As I was walking along Bull Creek this afternoon, I caught on the bastards about to burst into a cloud of eye-burning pollen.
Cedar Fever!
While I was uploading the photo and writing this post, my nose started itching something fierce–though I only have a very mild allergic reaction to cedar pollen, if any.