And I Can't Stop Having These Visions

A look inside the madness of my mind--sports, politics or daily life--with humor and pop culture and music references embedded.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Hey you, sittin over there

"... get up outta your chair"

Customer Service over telephone... how I am in conflict over you. While I love you from a business bottom line perspective, your incessant evolution of impersonality makes me loathe you.

And before I get started, I feel compelled to include AT&T's text-to-speech magic in this entry somewhere, so right here seems good.

So I'm a fan of automated menus when you call somewhere. It typically helps you get to talk to who you need to talk to faster than usual. (Is it bad that I think I can remember the exact sequence to call Time Warner for Roadrunner customer service?)

However, somewhere along the line people forgot the original intention of these... to expedite things. Classic examples are the Toys 'R Us in Boardman, OH (330-726-8697 if you're curious). They don't even have a menu. Last I checked (years ago, but I doubt they changed), it just goes in this annoying whiny voice:

Thank you for calling Toys 'R Us. We are located at 327 Boardman Poland Road just east of the Southern Park Mall on Route 224. Our store hours are 9AM - 9PM Monday through Saturday, and 10AM - 6PM on Sunday. If you have a question for our store, please hold on the line and an operator will be with you shortly *cue annoying ass music*

And it takes a good 30-60 seconds to get through this spiel.

Well, I haven't encoutered any new annoying phone menus in many years... until today... when I encountered 2... in 10 minutes!

So I'm trying to call the OSU Transportation and Parking Office to upgrade my parking pass so I can park on central campus over summer. Well I could have sworn their number was 292-PARK, which would make sense, but apparently it isn't. So I call trusty OSU Information (292-OHIO). I'm greeted with a new menu instead of an operator. I'm a little confused how a 411 type service will work without an operator but I roll with it.

It's like please say the name of the department you are trying to contact. I say Traffic and Parking and of course it doesnt work. So I try again and this time it works. But what if it was some weird ass department I'm trying to reach. Like the department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, or the Center for Slavic Languages,or Battelle Endowment for Technology & Human Affairs. I just can't see that working well.

Well a few minutes later I have to call Famous Footwear to get a new sandal. Well their menu would be perfectly served with, 'To find a store near you, press 1' 'For information about our Rewards program, press 2' 'For customer service, press 3'

BUT NO! They must make it voice-activated so that its 'To find a store near you, say STORE' 'For information about our Rewards program, say REWARDS' 'For customer service, say SERVICE'


Oh and this blog wouldn't be complete without the best phone message EVER.

"Ring ding dong... ringa ding ding ding dong"

Saturday, June 24, 2006

AEP started the fire

"It's been burnin since the juice's been flowin..."

Let's just preface this by pointing out it appears it didn't matter if I refrigerated those tortilla shells or not...

Oh, and it's gonna be quite long, but hopefully most definately worth it. There is 35 hours of story to tell...

So I'm at work yesterday around 4:00PM, and it starts thunderstorming. Being that I have about a 13 minute walk from work to my apartment, this is not fun. However the storm breaks, I take a quick look at the radar and see a bigger storm coming. Thus I decide to head home as fast as possible during this eye of the storm.

So I get home and Paul is still at class, and Nick is asleep on the couch. I realize it's pretty hot, but just assume that someone turned the AC off. Well I wander into my room and it is eerily quiet. I look and see my computer and everything else is shut off. Again, my naive self assumed that the cat must have stepped on the on switch on my surge protector, so I flip it a couple times, before realizing that the power must have gone out.

Well the wind starts to get quite strong, I'm going to call them gale-force winds because I always hear people on The Weather Channel say that and have always wanted an excuse to say it. So I'm looking out my window and I see the telephone poles (why are they called that when the power company owns them?) start swaying. There're branches and stuff from the wooded area dividing my apartment + Tuttle park being thrown into the parking lot and hitting the side of the building.

Well all of a sudden the arm on top of the telephone pole I'm looking at cracks and the power lines start falling, so of course I shout "HOLY SHIT! THE POWER LINES ARE FALLING!" and dive onto my bed. Well that wakes Nick up before a there's a huge boom against the side of the apartment right where Nick was sleeping. We look out the window and see that a tree basically just split in half:

About a minute or two later the winds die down, and so we head outside to check out what happened to the tree. So we go onto our patio/balcony and look down:

Right there! In that very spot, I've parked EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since I moved in here. Except last night I decided that I would park in the apartment complex instead of on the side. So I'm counting my blessings that I lucked out... except then I look one spot to the left:

HOLY SHIT... Someone's car just got owned! However, upon further inspection, there's not a whole lot of damage. Broken windshield, cracked fender, possibly a bent axle or two since the tree literally turned the car (it was parked straight). But nothing that would run four digits.

Well the girl who owned the car comes out, surprisingly calm and starts taking pictures and talking to her insurace company. Then all of a sudden NewsCenter comes up, and interviews me (since I saw everything) and the girl whos car got messed up. (I'll try to get a video at a later date) gWell that's all fun and good, but it's starting to get boring.

I then think that, "Wow, my car is right here and that storm is still coming, I'm gonna move it." So I move my car onto campus out of harms way. When I get back, Paul is back from class and checking out the damage and being amazed that his car, which was parked 2 spaces away, is unscathed. So this has gotten boring so I begin looking around... and what do I find? A TV and a bar of soap.

Well I had already called 911, informing them of the downed power lines and the tree on the car so finally a firefighter arrives and tapes off the area. So again, it has gotten quite boring, so Paul, Nick and I are standing on our balcony looking at the wreckage eating from the giant bag of tortilla chips that I had bought 2 nights priot.

All of a sudden, we hear the distinctive snap crackle pop followed by a buzzing hum of a metric fuckton of electricity. We look down and what do we see? Nothing but an energized power line laying on top of a tree thanks to the geniuses at AEP! Last I checked, 10,000+ volts of electricity on wood, on a car causes flames, and of course within 5 seconds, there's fire:

Well, being the journalist/photographer that I am deep down inside, the first thing I do is start taking pictures. Paul decides to chastise me for not calling 911. So I stop and call 911 for the second time in the past half hour. I tell them that there's a live power line and it caught a car on fire. They say they'll transfer me to the fire department where I reach a prerecorded message. "Thanks for calling the Columbus Fire Department. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911..."

Thankfully Nick had also called 911, so I hang up since he was speaking to someone competent and start taking pictures again. Here's a few select pictures (note the open door on my apartment upstairs) that were taken from the time the fire started until the firemen got there about 10 minutes later:

Finally after they have arrived and made sure that everyone is out of harms way, they FINALLY get AEP to shut off the power, so they can start spraying that foam stuff that you use on electrical fires.

Well the fire is out, and photograhpers from the Dispatch are here, and finally AEP arrives. Not I'm not going to mix words. My first impression of AEP from seeing their workers might be that they are the ghettoest pieces of shit... either that or they are outsourcing from Jamaica.

So with the fire out, and the area relatively safe from power turning on again, we go take a look at the car... HOLY SHIT... what was ~$500 of damage and just turned into utter destruction thanks to the wonderful electric company.

Somewhere around here, Paul mentions, "Wow, I'm so glad I closed that door to our apartment or else Cisco (his cat) would have asphyxiated by now." Well, after I point out how using asphyxiated makes light of the situation, I burst his bubble by saying he didn't close it. (Remember the open door from the earlier picture?) And, I have proof that the fireman closed it when he went in to clear the area. ... I'm such a bad person.

So we go out to dinner since I couldn't make Jambalaya as planned. We get back just in time for drunk people to show up carrying a boombox playing the Macarena... Yes, that Macarena. Well with no power, I grab my huge MagLite and we all grab chairs and sit on the patio watching the electric company try to put up a new pole:

***being nonsensical ramblings that are neccessary to finish the story, but not neccessairily entertaining***

Well they work through the night and we all go to sleep without power in the quite hot apartment. Around 2AM I wake up to go bring my car back from campus so I don't get a ticket and see that AEP has made good progress, and I estimate that power will be back by the time I wake up.

Well I wake up at Noon because my boss called (who I told that I probably wouldn't be in since I didn't have any power.) and I don't have power. I look outside and see that the only company left is WOW (Wide Open West), and Paul and Nick tell me that AEP is done, and SBC and Time Warner have already come and gone. So I'm wondering why we still don't have power when there's sounds on the roof. Apparently the feed going to our portion of the apartment complex got yanked out when the pole crashed, so they had to run a new feed.

So hours go by, and still nothing, and by now all the contractors have left. All AEP has to do is come out and connect the power lines on the street to the new power line on the apartment, and we're golden... but they aren't coming.

Its now been more than 24 hours without power, and we're starting to get a little annoyed. So I sleep on and off, and decide to finsih cleaning my room and unpacking anything that I'm ever going to unpack and file my reimbursement paper to BBS (I'm gettin $70 back from Boys State for gas and food, hoorah!). It's now about 5PM, and we're hungry and we have to eat out again... its now been 27 hours without power.

Right about here I realized that all my food has gone bad, and I am not happy. I had 11 servings of lettuce!!! 4lbs of cheese!!! like 30 tortilla shells!!! 1lb of hot sausage!!! and my lovely portobello mushrooms... all ruined. Not to mention everything in the freezer... the Texas Toast, the Buffalo Chicken Strips. That's when I realized this is truely a tragedy.

We get back from dinner hoping they would have connected the power, but no such luck. Paul and Nick can't stand it anymore and head to Buckeye TV to use the intraweb and/or watch telelvision. I decide to stay and sleep and read my poker books. About 9PM they get back, (did I mention its now been 30 hours without power) and I decide to take matters into my own hands, and call AEP.

I get on the phone with some hick woman so I toss in a Southern Drawl on my accent for good measure. She says that they'll send someone out immediately. By this time, we are quite bored, so I decide we should do a Crossword Puzzle... Ya Screw you Plain Dealer, your crossword puzzles aren't fun, they're just torture. So looking for something easier, we move to the Jumble, and Nick gets the final answer without looking at the paper.

Finally AEP arrives, and after we wait some more for the guy with the wire to arrive to come, we FINALLY have power again, after not having power for 35 hours!!!! And I'm sure there's some Katrina joke to be made here, but that's in poor taste, so I'll just leave an [insert joke here].

***end nonsensical ramblings that are neccessary to finish the story, but not neccessairily entertaining***

To see my entire collection of pictures taken, go to

If you don't feel like going through the entirety of them, at least check some of these out:
The broken arm of the pole
Paul's car in relation to the damage
The girl taking pictures of the damage
One of the power changer things that fell and Nick looking at the damage
It got damn smoky...
Cool Pic of a fireman walking down the stairs with the fire behind him
The smoke was quite black too...
The tire kinda exploded and turned to ash...
One of the first AEP guys on the scene... I think he's saying Holy Shit, we fucked up....
The force of the foam water broke the first floor apartment's window...
Final overhead shot post-fire

Oh, and being that we lost like $300 of food, plus had to buy like 4 meals, you should feel bad for us. And my blog is entertaining, so there may or may not be a PayPal link right here....

Lastly, I truely think this picture with the car's owner sums it up quite nicely:

"They ignited it, and we can't fight it..."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

They even made me show ID

" get inside the Sams Club"

So, having an oven and such now, I decided it was time for some excellent bulk purchases.

Well here's what I bought:
  1. a 6-box set of Puffs with lotion tissues which ended up being around $1.55 per box!
  2. An enormous box of Tortilla Chips for $4.48
  3. Flour Tortillas for Quesidilla and/or Wraps and/or Fajita and/or Burrito making
  4. Delicious Buffalo Chicken Tenders
  5. An 11-serving bag of Romaine Lettuce
  6. 4 Portabella Mushroom Caps
  7. a dual 2-pack (aka 4 pack) of 1lb of shredded Mexican Cheeses
  8. 2 pack of Frank's Red Hot
Put together, quite an aclectic group of foodstuffs and other products.

The entertaining part is when I get back to the apartment. The chips are already in their own box, but everything else was smallish so I grabbed a giant empty box that one one time contained 6-6lb bags of frozen hashed browns and put everything else inside of it. Well, I didn't feel like carrying both at once, so I yelled up into the open window... Someone come outside on the porch and catch these tortilla chips. Nick + Paul both heard me, but didn't realize I was talking to them... apparently that's a typical shout heard around the Northwest part of campus?

So being the genius I am, I decide to try to throw the enormous box of chips onto the balcony. I immediately regreted that decision. However I caught them on their descent back to earth and no harm was caused.

So after carrying the stuff up into the apartment, Paul is taking the stuff out of the box and giving it to me. Well the last two things were the lettuce and the flour tortillas. I take the tortillas and consider whether or not they need to be refrigerated. I'm assuming since at the store they weren't, they dont have to be until you open them. Well I decide to look at the back of the package and this is what I see:


REFRIGERATE AFTER PURCHASE?!? That doesn't even remotely make sense. Ok, they're sitting with a bunch of mass-produced baked goods on a table in the rear corner of Sams Club. The dairy section is in sight but its a good 50 yards away. These are not refrigerated in the least bit. What is so magical about my Kitchen counter that requires these tortillas be refrigerated? Please, if anyone can explain that I have a map of Ohio that you can have as a prize.

So everything is put away and I go to grab a slice of the Reese's Pie that Morgan bought me like 2 weeks ago. I'm waking over to grab a fork when I look at the ground. And what is it I see?

Confused by this I take a closer look...


Apparently Paul decided that the best location to store the lettuce would be on the floor next to the dishwasher. While I'm all about convienence, and it doesn't get much more convienent than that... NO!... Just NO!

This makes me think I need to go to Sams Club more often...

"Cuz every fourth quarter, I like to mic Jordan up"

Monday, June 19, 2006

You know it would be nice...

"if you could call somebody..."

First a side note, I'm done with finals, moving, and Boys State, so I should start updating regularly again. Now onto today's story.

So yesterday, I'm driving back from Bowl!ng Green State Un!vers!ty, and heading southeastish to meet my parents so they can give me some stuff, and so I can meet my parents, (more specifically, my Dad) for Father's Day. Well, I refused to drive the ~3 hours to Youngstown, and then the ~3 more hours back to Columbus... so we decided to meet in mid-Ohio.

After playing with my fun mapping program, I find that Mansfield is exactly 1 hour and 52 minutes away from both of us (BGSU + Youngstown). So we decided to both meet in the general area. Well, because I tend to drive fast, I was on pace to get there around 30 minutes before them. Knowing that if Wooster was only about 20 minutes or so farther east, I decide to investigate to see if theres anything to eat in Wooster. Therefore, I decide to use my phone-a-friend on the resident Wooster expert--Michael J. Kasek.

So I whip out my cell phone and scroll down the line. I get to Mike Kasek, and hit dial. My smartphone asks if I would like to dial hit home or cell

Well, I call his cell, and I get a friendly operator who informs me that this number has been disconnected. I find this intriguing, but go hrmm.... and decide to call his house.

So I call his house, and some woman who is not his mother or sister and goes by the name of Shelly answers, and also informs me that he doesn't live there. So around this time, I'm quite confused. So naturally I send Rahkeem a text somewhere along these lines, "So is it just me, or did that twat lapel remove himself from all audial communication devices"

I get a business card in reply less than 5 minutes with his new cell phone on it. So I call him and attempt to ask him if he knows any good places to eat in Wooster... however he's at dinner and doesnt give me a chance to ask my question.

So today, I'm sitting on my computer, and he tells me that they switched to DIGITAL PHONE by Time Warner about 5 months ago, and SBC just never disconnected their number until all of a sudden some lady started getting their calls...

Anyway, he gives me his new number, so I go to his contact page to edit it... and see a note attached to his contact, which is odd... because why would a contact ever have a note attached...

It says Lock - ****
(Where **** is, is the 4 digit combination)

I think for a moment and start to laugh my ass off, because that is the combination to the lock that locks his grill to his porch. You see... their family had their grill stolen off of their back porch about 2 summers ago. So the next summer (last summer) his wonderful mother decided to buy a heavy duty lock to attach it to the porch.

Well bless her heart, but she wrote the combination on the dry erase board on the side of the refridgerator. So one day, I decided to write it down on my phone in case some shananagans were neccessary.

The plan was, on one of the last days before everyone left for college to steal it and hide it in his garage, or relock it to something excessive like his patio swing. But we never got around to it. However, the note was still in my phone.

This made my laugh, but in retrospect this story was rather anticlimatic.

To make up for it, here's a quote of the day: "If I had a lot of disposable income, I'd buy a shit load of disposable diapers and dispose of them immediately because diapers are gross."

"You know you're dead wrong... for sendin' me straight to voicemail"

Friday, June 02, 2006

Wednesday, Thursday...

"Happy Days..."

So last night was the last Wednesday of the year. So Brandon, Caitlin, and I did what we do every Wednesday night. ... Drink.

Well we didn't get started until 10:30 because OMG THE HILLZ was on, and Caitlin being that girl that she is had to watch it.

Here's some highlights of the night. (I wonder if the bullets will work this time.)
  • Desperately wanting a burrito from Burrito Noches, but settling for Pizza Rolls. Except I kept asking for more Pizza Rolls and Alex wouldn't make any more.
  • Caitlin still being mad at me and Jerod for hitting her in the eye with a pretzel the night before.
  • Playing 1, 2, 3, Go!... this time without Caitlin blacking out.
  • Complimenting Caitlin about everything except with her taking offense to all of it.
  • Singing Screaming American Pie, Jack & Diane, and Bohemian Rhapsody (the 3 best karaoke songs according to Brandon).
  • Telling Caitlin that I am better than her at everything/in every way
  • Which led to me having to pee really badly, but refusing to go until she did, and when she did it was just being nice to me.
  • And her teaching me ballet while intoxicated. Let's just say that while drunk the idea of pushing your butt under, stomach in, and chest out doesn't seem viable at all.
  • Oh... and I have better legs than her... and Brandon for that matter, so apparently she planned ahead to wear a skirt today
  • This leads to later on when she says she's leaving and will be right back... me and Brandon knows she won't be right back, so we tell her to be back in 5 minutes.
  • As she's walking out, I issue my standard threat. Be back or we'll steal all your pants.
  • Well, she left her keys, so me and Brandon may or may not have stolen all her pants + sweatpants + shorts from her closet + drawers
  • She gets back in 6 minutes... 1 minute too late, except with her not knowing that we already did, bwahahha.
  • While we were in her room, we saw Jess getting back and some guy getting her to her room, and then leaving. (This becomes more pertinent later)
  • We get back, and Shivani comes over.
  • Wow, these bullets have really become anti-bullet.
  • We begin to reminisce about the one time Brandon was really drunk and decided to pick up Caitlin and try to throw her on his bed, and fell before he got there.
  • I'm not really sure how but somehow I bet Caitlin "my toenails" that if Brandon tried to do it again right now he wouldn't make it to the bed again
  • I of course lose, because he does make it to the bed.
  • So apparently Caitlin now owns my toenails or something? I'm not really sure what that means... but if they end up pink one day, I guess that's the explanation?
  • Anyway, so with 4 of us, with equal genders, we decide to play Twister.
  • I of course win 2 out of the 3 games because I'm better than everybody, especially Caitlin.
  • Now being around 3AM, I go to sleep since I had 2 finals and a make-up quiz today.
  • I put up an away message that apparently wasn't very coherent.
  • Apparently Crista comes over and leaves her cell phone on my desk all night?
  • Around 7AM, Caitlin calls Brandon because she can't find any of her pants. They jointly return some.
  • I get up around Noon and there's a strange cell phone on my desk that keeps beeping because of a low battery. I resist the urge to throw it against a wall like I did Brandon's alarm clock. About 5 minutes later Crista comes to retrieve it.
  • I finish studying for Biology, and am walking to class when I get a text (whoo for Facebook mobile!!)
    • Caitlin Hula has written on your wall:
      you stole all of my sweatpants and pants for that matter while i was drunk. thats not very nice andy.... i am doubley mad at you haha
  • I respond with"
    • bah, you said you were gonna wear a skirt today anyway so it wasn't like you needed them
  • Around 4PM, I stop by my room to eat lunch before taking my last quiz and going to Accounting Lab. Rachael (Jess's roommate) comes over and asks if me or Brandon were in her room last night. We say no, and the only person that was in there was Jess...
  • Apparently someone peed all over everything that was Rachael's. To quote
  • "My clothes are soaked, I could wring them out. Its disgusting."
  • Finally, I get back to my room after I'm done with class for the day and IM Caitlin and ask if she would like me to bring the rest of her shorts back, but she offers to come get them. So she does, and she is in fact wearing a jean skirt, thereby making it so she really didn't need her pants back so ASAP.
And with that, all of the storylines (minus the toes), from last night wrapped up into one nice neat little package. The best part is...

"The weekend comes..."