Time to Stand Up (or Sit Down) for a Cause

Over the past several weeks, National Grid has been digging up the street at the end of my driveway. Consequently, I have not been able to use it.

When I called them about it, I was told that no work was being done there. That’s when I decided to protest to prove them wrong. For the record, this was the third time they dug up the street, and in the same place. When the foreman of the contractor (PCM) showed up to remove me from my perch, I insisted the the excavation be covered with a metal plate. He said he had no order for one and that none was available anyway.

When the job was completed, he called me to apologize because there was an order for the plate but it was ignored.


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Bad at Math

When I went to Staples to purchase a 55″ x 33″ vinyl banner (landscape), the clerk entered 55″ as the height and 33″ as the width. Who trained him?

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Prescription Overdose

As many people know, even though they may not be Hispanic, “once” means eleven in Spanish.

I have heard the some people have overdosed on their medication because the instructions say “take once daily.” This does not mean “eleven times daily.”

To say “take one pill or capsule per day” would make the instructions clearer.

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Staples is Not Easy

Service is not as easy at Staples as one should expect, according to their motto.

Here is a copy of the receipt so readers may follow the numbers.

The job was to print 12 color pages.

When I went to the counter, I asked the price and was quoted $16.69, nothing more. Since I was the only one at the counter and the Staples staff was just standing around, I asked if I could have it right away, and the clerk answered “Yes,” and nothing more. However, when I received the invoice, there was an extra charge of $5.01.

I asked for an explanation. Answer: “That is because you wanted immediate service.” Of course I asked to speak to a manager to whom I explained that I was never told about the surcharge.  A supervisor showed up. After some arguing with him about not being notified, he refunded the $5.01. However, since I was truly peeved about the deception, I persisted by asking for the store manager to whom I presented my case once more. He caved in and refunded the entire amount of $16.69.

Apparently to earn my goodwill, he also gave me two vouchers worth $20.00 each.

Thus, it would seem to me that Staples is making a whole lot of extra money with its questionable billing policy and, therefore, can easily afford to be generous when customers complain.




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Waste of Time

It would seem that the only benefit I get from writing this blog is that it allows me to blow off steam about the myriad issues that piss me off. They never get fixed or resolved.

Each one is crazier than the one before.

Today I spoke to the receptionist about a fax I sent. I said “Where does it go?”

She answered, “To our computer.”

See what I mean?

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Contradictory Car Commercials

How come most of the car commercials I see on TV promote cars with speed and power in a world that embraces auto safety?

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Medical Oral Malpractice

I watch a lot of medical shows on television. At 84 years old, I have also seen many doctors. I would say that I have an above-average medical vocabulary. Consequently, I pick up frequent mispronunciations of medical terms.

Who is at fault? The writer? The director? Who cares?  Apparently, no one.

Although such shows strive for realism, they fail when this occurs. And it bothers me.

I suppose real doctors are bothered when operating room procedures are misrepresented as well.

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Half a Job is an Incomplete Job

As a graphic designer with considerable knowledge and experience (over 50 years), occasionally I am approached by a commercial printer for help. He gets a file from one of his customers, but it cannot be printed for one or more of a variety of reasons.

The reason is that the designer had only dealt with the appearance of the image, without giving consideration to the myriad aspects that are required by the commercial printer to impose the image on paper, plastic, glass, or similar medium.

It would be like a plumber installing a faucet without connecting it to a water supply, or an electrician installing a new outlet in a wall without connecting it to a power supply.

Here are some of the considerations for proper printing:

  1. Size: The image must created to the exact size as the medium; larger if the image is to bleed over the edge so there is no white space around it after it is trimmed. Crop marks must also be included to assure proper trimming.
  2. Resolution: For printing, a resolution of 300 dpi is ideal for clarity. Anything less will result in pixelation, where the tiny dots that make up the image become visible to the naked eye.
  3. Color: Most printing today uses a concept called process color. Rather than using inks of specific colors, printing presses and home desktop printers use only four colors (red, yellow, blue, and black) to create the millions of possible color combinations that may be in an image. This scheme is also referred to as CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black).

If the image is for digital display, such as on a website, the color scheme is completely different. Such images are displayed with light rather than ink. This calls for a three-color system of red, green, and blue light (RGB) to create all color combinations.

In summary, the action of designing is only half the job. It takes a lot more effort to get to the final product.



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If you need technical support with your computer or with a software problem, DO NOT waste your time by complaining. Most of the time, the company merely will attempt to placate you.

The most effective thing you can do is to hang up and call again. Recently, I called a software vendor and it took the agent two hours and he was unable to resolve my problem. I hung up and called back and the new agent resolved my problem in ten minutes.

Afterwards, I composed a letter on paper about this lack of training issue and mailed it to the CEO. He never got it. It was hijacked by his personal support team who clearly did not understand that this was a management issue, not a technical issue.

So do not waste your time trying to escalate an issue; it rarely works. I never heard back from the CEO.

Simply hang up and call again.

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Bad or Badly

As those who follow my blog know, I detest the use of bad grammar.

Badly is an adverb and explains how something was done. Bad is an adjective and describes a noun. Since the word being modified is “feel” (a verb), the proper modifier is “badly” (an adverb). Thus, the expression “I feel badly” would mean that I am having difficulty in feeling.

Or, I could have a poor sense of touch, a problem that could affect people with small hands (hah!). If the term is to be used to describe a mood or state of mind, one could say “I feel sad” and avoid the issue completely.

The misuse of this expression brings back a fond memory of an old television show where the leading character uttered in frustration, “You feel badly this way,” while rubbing his fingers together.

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