Patience is a virtue. Totino’s pushes the boundaries of scientific research thanks to me.


arrange the rolls in a circle on a plate

“arrange the rolls in a circle on a plate”

Oh man.  Does anyone remember my W(aL)D email shenanigans from a decade ago?

One such adventure was writing to Totino’s to ask if they had recommendations for microwaving more than 6 at a time.  They wrote back.  I asked them if I needed to arrange the rolls like wagon wheel spokes or like wagons on the Oregon Trail circling for protection.  I even got some 35¢ coupons that I considered as a research grant.

Have you noticed pizza roll cooking instructions lately?

I won! Information for the people! Research to benefit the masses!

Really though.  This brings up a new series of questions.

When did just arranging in “a single layer become” acceptable?  Who does Totino’s think they are discarding the time-honored tradition of microwaving things in a circle?  Did we learn nothing from our ancestors at Stonehenge?  Did they consult the Softstix team over at SuperPretzel, or just roll forward (pun still intended) with wild abandon?  How do you summon the flavor spirits without the ceremonial circle?

Has the Fibonacci spiral ever been tested as a cooking pattern?  Can Ci3 make me a plate specifically for microwaving pizza rolls and little cheese-filled pretzels with the Fibonacci spiral on it?

Totino's Pizza Roll Microwave Instructions

🔥 Gimme Your Mountain Pie Recipes! 🔥 🌳🌲🏕️🌳


So, do you like mountain pies? I sure do.

Typical mountain pie preparation, assembly, & cooking at church camp.

Typical mountain pie preparation, assembly, & cooking at church camp.

This is a horrible blurry photo of a mountain pie, but look at those crimped edges!We used to make them every time we went camping when I was a kid, and we camped quite often. Nothing beats cooking a mountain pie over the hot coals of an aging campfire. We generally make pizza ones, and we have made Reuben ones, and you have your standard pie-filling from a can/powdered sugar on top ones… but other than that I haven’t gotten too crazy. One time I did make a baked bean one. I mean, why not? Also, once we put leftover nine-can vegetable soup in an electric sandwich maker that we got on clearance from Kmart for $5. So, that is sort of similar to making a mountain pie. I mean, it would have made a good one.

It's a bit crispy, but I assure you it was delicious.

Look at those crimped edges!

You gotta use a cast iron pie iron though, not those goofy aluminum ones. I have melted many an aluminum pie iron. I make those coals blacksmith hot. Also, you need one that seals the edges. The ones that don’t make a seal are just sandwich-heater-uppers and that’s bogus. I know they also make round ones where you can cook an egg and make an Egg McMuffin-ish type of sandwich.

My wife & I counsel for church camp every summer, and my camp always makes mountain pies… a tradition my family brought to our camp group when I was younger. Usually my friend Laurel & I end up being the cooks, over a fire in a pavilion fireplace that rivals the fury of Mount Doom of Mordor.

Some of the campers have made cool ones with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I need to try that. (Side note: have you ever had a campfire banana? Do it!) An old preacher friend of ours enjoys one filled with butter & powdered sugar. I bet it’s like a donut.

#MountainPieMadness

Moutain Pielander? THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE! #MountainPieMadness

So, what are your go-to mountain pie recipes?  I hear some people also call them hobo pies, pudgy pies, campfire pies, jaffle pies, and other crazy stuff.  They have to rank up there right behind hot dogs and s’mores as the #1 campfire food.  I have thought a cheesesteak one would be delicious, maybe an Italian Sub on, maybe a burger melt/’Frisco burger kind of thing, maybe one with baked beans and a sliced hot dog would be the ultimate campfire mashup?  You could go with a classic grilled cheese.

Share your tried-and-true recipes and your zany ideas in the comments!

When I tip, you tip, we tip. [#Tipping?]


So, I’ve written about tipping at length before.  I won’t get into all of it again, but I have heard the subject come up lately, and I just want to know where I fall.  This is all about discussion.  I want feedback.  How do you tip?  Some questions I’d like answered…

  • Do you tip 20% when out to eat, or are you still at the 80s 15% standard?  (Please don’t say it’s 10%.)
  • Do you round to the nearest dollar or leave exact change?
  • If you only get a slice of pie and a cup of coffee (or less), do you throw percentage out the window and go for a minimum amount?
  • Is it cool to leave the tip on a receipt if paying with a credit card, or does the waiter/waitress think you stiffed them?
  • Do you tip if there’s an automatic 18% gratuity for a large party?
  • Do you tip better (or worse) based on service, or should it be automatic?
  • How much do you tip a pizza guy/girl?
  • Does the pizza tip change if you have more than pizza or a ridiculously large order?
  • Do you adjust tipping a delivery person in inclement weather, on or near a holiday, or on a day like thanksgiving or New Year’s Day when everyone else is ordering out?
  • Is your delivery tipping based on a percentage of the total, or on a flat per-trip fee?
  • Is it cool to leave the tip on a receipt if paying with a credit card, or does the delivery driver think you stiffed them?
  • Do you tip on take-out when you pick it up?
  • Do you tip at Starbucks or a mom n’ pop coffee place?  Is there a difference?
  • If so, is it change, or paper?
  • Do you tip per beer/drink at the bar, or per round?
  • How much do you tip for a $15 or $18 men’s haircut?  How much more for a beard trim or a shave?
  • Who else do you tip that may not be so obvious?  The garbage man?  The mailman?

I try to tip well as with my food allergy I have a small circle of places where we dine out or get delivery with a high level of comfort.  I want to make sure I’m in the right place.

Please, discuss!

As a reminder, you can comment here without a WordPress account if you’re already logged into Facebook or Twitter, just go to town!
Moo.

Moo.

💵 💸 💳 💰

Mac Frosty & Ruben Tug


I’ve been struck by a prankster, but I know who you are.  One message came via the webform, one came via email:

Webform:

From: Mac Frosty <kb3ugw@gmail.com>
To: me@my.email.address
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 12:21 AM
Subject: W(aL)D Feedback

Name: Mac Frosty

Email: kb3ugw@gmail.com

Message / Comment: I went to you store on west liberty ace to get a smoothie. But my smoothie tasted like chocolate mint. You need to clean your fryers better so this want happen again. I also think all of the black people in ads H for slice are racist. Take them off the air , or I’m calling Obama.

Sincerely
Mac

How’d you find my blog?: It was in my reciept

Time: Monday June 25, 2012 at 12:21 am
IP Address: ##.##.###.##
Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/
Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

Email:

From: KB3UGW <kb3ugw@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Subject: Webforms Suck, so I’m emailing you directly!
To:world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com” <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

It’s like boom it’s like slam I swear that I’m telling you the facts, that’s how I beat.

Ac supafresh

Chocolate mulk cycad define the juice. Don’t be a pussy , eat it. Your fries are too greasy and 44 cent for BBQ save.   You crazy like randy randy  save Mcdonald rib pork patty I need roo feed

And bring back the pizza.

Ruben tug

I see that we have an avid reader, here, calling out that I hate webforms & all.  It did take me a second to realize that it was not actually someone thinking I’m McDonald’s (again).  I mean, you’ve seen the emails right?

At any rate, Google outed you Mac (or Ruben).  Pull up your pants, there are ladies present.

Pizza Hut actually █████████ to a █████ but then ███████ it.


I tweeted this…

https://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/195873642356281344

They tweeted this…

https://twitter.com/#!/pizzahut/status/195944183775756289

(They have since deleted it.)

I tweeted this…

https://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/195996342273839106

Of course, this was all in reference to my apparently infamous maze.  We’ll see if we get a reply.  I’m guessing not, since they deleted their tweet.

Wow.  Do they have an internal policy regarding not answering me?  Holy cow, that is so funny.  Luckily I have a screenshot show that the tweet did indeed exist.

@PizzaHut | @AiXeLsyD13 how humorously cool! We’ll relay this information to our internal team.

Fantastic.

I caught your tweet, Pizza Hut!  Ha ha.  You responded to me.  I win.

I almost forgot, they never responded to this either:

Hey Pizza Hut, my guts are not a water park!

Do you think they "get" that it makes me poop?

Your favorite pizza sucks, my favorite pizza rules! (Part 3)


CHAINS.  I wanted to tackle the prominent area pizza chains for part 3.  (You read parts 1 & 2, right?) I’m really not supposed to eat pizza right now thanks to recently diagnosed GERD/Acid Reflux/Barret’s Esophagus, but I have eaten many pizzas from these many chains over the years.  I’m going to be extra picky about my pizza from now on.  I’ll probably stick with Slice on Broadway and Aiello’s.  But the event may come up where I need to pick a chain place again, and here’s where they fall…

Fox's Pizza Den on UrbanspoonFox’s (or Fox’s Pizza Den) is pretty good.  The different locations aren’t always consistent, but when you find a good one… stick with it!  I really dig the one in Bridgeville as of late, but the one closest to home is the one in Brookline.  I grew up on Fox’s in Murrysville, as it was the only place who would deliver to my house out in the boonies.  I don’t know if Fox’s recently revamped their UrbanSpoon profiles or what, but I know I’ve reviewed the one in Brookline, but it’s not there.  Their pages all seem to have little to no reviews or votes.  I remember going on & on about the wedgies.  In fact, I found it at another source

WedgieGimme a Wedgie!
It’s not the sick twisted fantasies of a nerd that likes being dominated by bullies…  It’s a call to order the best #%@$ing sandwich you’ve ever had.  It’s served up on a pizza crust instead of a bun.  How awesome is that?  The steak one is my favorite, but I’ve never seen one that doesn’t look appetizing.  Just make sure you’ve got plenty of napkins on hand.

Their pizza is pretty damn good too.  There was a Fox’s near where I grew up in the suburbs, but they never had a menu this vast.  I sometimes end up getting the fried zucchini or the potato wedges… but really can’t ever eat anything after finishing a whole wedgie.  In fact, my wife & I even sometimes just split one to avoid over-stuffing.  Ordering for delivery is usually the standard half hour to 45 min., and they’re usually there before they said they were going to be… so that’s a plus.  You can’t go wrong with Fox’s.

Vocelli Pizza (Dormont) on Urbanspoon

Vocelli Pizza is another one that must have purged old UrbanSpoon reviews.  There’s virtually nothing there.  I used to love Vocelli’s, even if they’re just named after a made up Italian sounding word.  The service at the local one went down hill, and this is what it used to say on UrbanSpoon:

I used to love this place, & would order quite frequently.  But, the last time we got a Buffalo chicken pizza, there was hair on it.  My wife called & told them, they said they’d send a coupon for a free one next time.  We never got any coupons, and were hungry for their food again… so I got a stromboli and the wife got a buffalo chicken pizza… and the pizza had hair on it again.  She found it (luckily) on the first bite.  So, she called the call center. She of course, didn’t eat any more, so we could show them.  The delivery boy showed up… was incredibly rude, didn’t look at the old pizza, and practically threw the new one at my wife.

I don’t know why he took it personally… I was gonna tip him for coming out the 2nd time because he didn’t put hair on the pizza… but with actions/service like that, they can shove it.  I always tried to tip well too, as we (used to) get pizza form there all the time.  This was enough to end it.  There’s plenty of other pizza shops around, apparently they don’t need our business, anyway.  Hair in a pizza once?  I can see it happening.  Twice within the span of a month or two?  That’s just absolutely ridiculous.

So… in closing, I’d say what used to be a great place has now sunken to a.) being filthy, and b.) having terrible customer service.

…but in all fairness, after a while we did go back & they seemed to have weeded out the bad employees.  I’ve also tried their artery-clogging Alfredo sauce on a pizza, and loved it.  My triglycerides did not.  I do like Vocelli’s normal sauce, and they generally make a consistent pie & decent subs.  If you’re ordering for a crowd, I’d say Vocelli Pizza is an across-the-board crowd-pleaser.

Vocelli Pizza

''Vocelli?'' Sure, that sounds Italian enough!

Papa John's Pizza on UrbanspoonPapa John’s rules with their online ordering.  The sauce isn’t quite as good as Vocelli’s, but they do always give you the tasty garlic dipping sauce and a Peperoncini.  They do rock as far as consistency.  You know what you’re getting every time.  I wish they had subs, I always like to get subs… especially turkey, or sometimes you’re in the mood for a pizza-shop Italian sub.  But then again, maybe they just want to focus on pizza & doing it well.  Check out these amusing blog posts about Papa John’s:

Little Caesars Pizza on UrbanspoonLittle Caesar’s, what the hell happened?  When I was a young lad, we would pickup a pizza after we left Network Video (a place where you rented VHS tapes for the kids out there), we’d pop into Little Caesar’s for what I think was called a Bigfoot… two big-ass square pizzas side by side?  I’d always want breadsticks, because I have an unnatural love for carbs.  I was sad when Little Caesar’s all but disappeared and was relegated to Kmart stores for some strange reason.  When there was a recent resurgence, and a subsequent person paid to stand on West Liberty Ave. and sling a Little Caesar’s sign… I was excited.  We tried the new incredibly cheap pies one night… and they were terrible.  The sauce is definitely much more bitter than I remember, and perhaps in my old age I forgot about all the grease that adorns (soaks) their crust.  I still like the breadsticks, and $5 is pretty good for the amount that they give you, but $5 of crap is still crap.  If I’m in the mood for punishment, need an immediate meal, and it’s a week where I need to pay for dinner with couch change, I may go back.

Cici's Pizza - Bridgeville on UrbanspoonCiCi’s ought to change the name to CaCa’s.  I’ve only ever been there once, but that’s all I need.  Wow.  It was like eating wax & tomato soup spread out over crackers.  Who cares if it’s cheap and all-you-can-eat when it’s absolutely terrible nutrition?  My high school cafeteria served better pizza, and even better pizza imitation food.  I think there was a salad bar, and an unholy “mac n’ cheese” pizza.  I don’t remember much other than the dried crusty partial pies getting tanned under the hot lights and maybe even someone shouting a welcome when we walked in.  I just wanted to leave but had paid and tried to just stay & eat my few dollars worth.  CiCi’s won that day.  There’s no way I had eaten more of that crap than hat I paid for.

Pizza Hut on UrbanspoonPizza Hut causes me great gastrointestinal distress.  Every few years, I forget and enter a Pizza Hut thinking “ah, it wasn’t that bad”.  Yes, yes it is.  Perhaps I hit an age long ago where Pizza Hut was no longer compatible with my intestines.  Perhaps I was really slow to learn the pattern.  We didn’t do Pizza Hut too much when I was growing up.  Maybe I never built up a tolerance/immunity.  The pizza itself isn’t bad, I’ve had the personal pan, the normal pies, a few lunch buffets… they generally have a good crust & good flavor… albeit greasy.  It’s just that their pie unleashes itself like an assault team on my digestive system.  The one in Greentree is the last one that I visited.  The service was slow, and I didn’t feel welcomed at all.  Hopefully it steels my resolve to skip Pizza Hut in the future.

Pizza Hut Maze

A letter within a maze, for my pals at Pizza Hut. (They never did write back!)

I’ve dealt with Pizza Hut many times in the past…

Ridiculous.

Avoid the Noid

Avoid the Noid!

I know I missed Domino’s, but I was never impressed with their pies… and there’s never one around where I’m ordering.  I did like the Noid commercials back in the day though.  I haven’t tried their revamped pies.  I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.

Did I miss your favorite chain pizza?  Did I miss your most reviled?

Take the poll, it’s only open for a week!

I’m not Kmart.


This is a logo for Kmart Australia.

Are YOU Kmart Smart?

Apparently, the difference between an address bar, a search box, and a To field are entirely lost on a certain segment of the population.  That’s OK, because those people are here for our amusement.  I believe this kind of thing may sort of be the fault of a smartphone, but maybe I’m giving too much credit there.  I’m still lost on the exact chain of events, but this came through my blog’s contact form:

From: Mckiver <mckiver317@gmail.com>
To:  <me>
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012
Subject: W(aL)D Feedback

Name: Mckiver
Email: mckiver317@gmail.com
Website: http://google
Message / Comment: January 16, 2012

Hello!  I have an Award Card.  My Award Card’s validation date is 12/05/11 – 12/09/11.  I would like to know if my Award Card can still be used?  If not, I would like to know if I can exchange this gift card for a new valid one?  I also want to know the valid amount on my gift card (if any)?

Thank You,

Please email your reply/answer to me at:
mckiver317@gmail.com
or
mckiver317@hotmail.com

Thanks Again!

How’d you find my blog?: I found this  blog on the back of my Kmart Award Card.

Time: Monday January 16, 2012 at
IP Address: 00.000.000.000
Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/
Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

Again with this crap:  How’d you find my blog?: I found this  blog on the back of my Kmart Award Card.”  No, I’m pretty sure you didn’t.  But, you’re here anyway.

So, I wrote back…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jan 17, 2012
Subject: Re: W(aL)D Feedback (Not Kmart)
To: Mckiver, mckiver317@hotmail.com

Hello Mr. or Ms. McKiver,

I just wanted to write to let you know that I’m not Kmart.  I believe you found a blog post that I wrote about Kmart, then somehow navigated to my blog’s contact form to send this email.  Perhaps you searched for “www.kmartfeedback.com” instead of using the url bar, and it brought you to my blog?  Or perhaps you searched for “help@customerservice.kmart.com” instead of sending an email?  Were you maybe browsing on your phone?

Unfortunately I am unable to assist with your awards card query.  I am also not McDonald’s.  Good luck in your quest for information, I hope that Kmart is able to provide an agreeable answer.  Hopefully they are more responsive than my dealings with Pizza Hut.

Rock and Roll, my friend!
-W(aL)D

I never got a reply.  Perhaps they were embarrassed, …or just incredibly computer illiterate?  So I tried to nudge one:

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Jan 20, 2012
Subject: Re: W(aL)D Feedback (Not Kmart)
To: Mckiver , mckiver317@hotmail.com
Cc: help@customerservice.kmart.com

Hello McKiver,

I hadn’t heard back from you, and I was worried that you had given up in your quest for award card information.  Did Kmart get a hold of you?  I Cc’ed them on the email hoping they’d step in & deliver your information.  I hadn’t received a thank you from them for trying to help out a Kmart shopper, so I was a little discouraged.

If you were able to use your gift card, what did you buy?  Anything exciting?  Last time I was at Kmart, I bought some really warm socks.  They’re nice this time of year.  I like to keep my feet warm.

Does your Kmart have a Little Caesar’s out front?  I remember their pizza used to be awesome, but now it tastes like tomato paste spread over cardboard & covered in wax chips.  Someone ought to look into that.  Yeah, it’s only $5… but my $5 was hard-earned, and I’m not going to spend it eating a turd, you know?

In conclusion, I’d suggest socks, not pizza for your award/gift card.

Hope you’re having a nice day!
-Waldo Lunar

Well, Kmart is concerned at least:

From: Kmart Help <help@customerservice.kmart.com>
Date: Fri, Jan 20, 2012
Subject: Re: W(aL)D Feedback (Not Kmart) (KMM20865508V93493L0KM)
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

 Good Morning Waldo,

 Thank you for contacting Kmart.com.

Waldo, we are sorry for any inconvenience you encountered with the feedback that you have given today. We know that your time is valuable and we appreciate the fact you took the time to give us feedback on our performance.

 We are listening to what you have to say. The feedback that you have provided today regarding (will be taken into consideration as we continue to enhance our services to meet the needs of our customers, (including you) going forward.

 Many of the changes that we have made have been a result of feedback from customers like you.

 We are here for you! Please reply should you have any further questions. We value your business and look forward to serving you in the future. You can also contact us on our customer service number 1-800-733-7249 or login to our chat support. Have a wonderful day!

We certainly hope you will continue to make Kmart your choice for quality and value!

At Kmart we care for our customers’ feedback, it helps us improve our service. Take our survey to tell us how we’re doing.

Make sure you’re registered at Kmart.com for emails, so we can stay in touch! Please add Kmart values, Kmart.com to your address book to ensure our emails reach your inbox.

Sincerely,

Stanton K.(mkundal)

Kmart Customer Care

webcenter@customerservice.kmart.com

1800-733-7249.

We’ll see what happens, I guess.  I’m still not McDonald’s.

See also:

Your favorite pizza sucks, my favorite pizza rules! (Part 2)


So, last time I blogged about pizza, I covered some of my favorites: Aiello’s, SLICE, & A’Pizza Badamo.  This time I’ll blog about other area big-hitters.

Beto's Pizza on UrbanspoonBeto’s is another place nearby that is just excellent.  They’re the place that you’ve probably heard of that doesn’t cook the cheese & other toppings.  You’ll probably either love it or hate it.  I dig it, the wife does not.  The only thing I’d change is the consistency of the sauce… I’m not a fan of chunks of tomatoes in pizza sauce, but the flavor is excellent.  They don’t get all fancy with toppings here either, just simple, straightforward pizza with cheese that’s melting as you eat it.  I think my favorite way to eat it is just as plain cheese pizza.  Why mess up such a beautiful combination?

Molly's Pizza on UrbanspoonMolly’s Pizza is close by too.  They have some great pizza, and some really crazy specialty pies like the Ranchero Steak Pizza and the Pierogi Pizza.  I personally like to get a pizza with zucchini on top.  Excellent stuff!  It’s hard to pick a favorite around here.

Fiori's Pizzaria on UrbanspoonFoiri’s is a south hills institution.  Sorry, I don’t get it.  Is it good pizza?  Most definitely.  Is it overrated?  In my humble opinion, yes.  Maybe I’m biased because you can get deathfish as a topping there.  At any rate, if you’re in the area and a pizza aficionado, it’s worth checking out before you decide that Slice is the best place around.

Il Pizzaiolo on UrbanspoonIl Pizzaiolo isn’t your regular Pittsburgh pizza shop.  They’re fancy.  They have great pies in a steep Neapolitan tradition.  As they say themselves…

…the restaurant has become a vibrant gathering place for lovers of Neapolitan pizza, pasta and Italian wine. Nearly everything on the menu is hand-made. And if it’s not made in-house, it’s imported from the best artisans, cheese-makers and salumeria in the world. Mozzarella di Bufala comes direct from Naples every Thursday and the pizzas are baked at 1000˚ in a handcrafted, wood-fired brick oven for less than 90 seconds. This, along with perfectly leavened dough, San Marzano tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil, produces the most authentic Neapolitan pizza possible.

So obviously, this is no Pizza Hut.  They make incredible gourmet pies.  Unfortunately it’s entirely not what I’m craving when I “just want a pizza”.  This is where you want to go when you’d like a nice evening out to enjoy some of the lightest most delicious pizza you’ve ever eaten.

Italian Village Pizza (Canonsburg/McMurray) on UrbanspoonItalian Village Pizza is all over the place.  Both by location and quality.  They used to have a killer A1 Steak Sub at the one on Rte. 51, but I don’t think they have that any more.  The last one I frequented was the one in McMurray, but I only ever got the pizza once or twice.  The steak & Italian subs are incredible, but the sauce was just too bitter for me.  It tasted like straight tomato paste with some basil thrown in.  Some people love it, but it just wasn’t my thing.

Here I’d also like to try to address this thing…

VinceNt’s vs. Vincent’s

I’m still not sure what the exact dispute is… if there’s still a dispute, and if there are only two Vincent’s involved in this saga.  Can anyone fill me in on this?  I’ve heard several amalgamated stories over the years.  Some credible news even.  First, you’ve got to get your head around the locations…

There’s Vincent’s Pizza ParkOne on 30 in Irwin/North Huntingdon, one on Ardmore Blvd., and one in Holiday Park (the one I used to frequent).  And there’s Vincent’s “of Greentree” …oddly enough in Greentree, Southpointe, and the West End.  (There also seems to be a Vincent’s Pizza Pub on Mt. Washington – I’m unsure if they’re related to any of the others.)

I haven’t been to Vincent’s Pizza Park in Holiday Park in a long long time, but I remember it as the greasiest pizza I have ever had.  It was good, but greasy.  Some people like that.  I’m not the biggest fan of grease, but I remember they had a nice thick crust & a flavorful sauce.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Vincent’s in Greentree, but the one in Southpointe has great steak subs, garlic buns, and pretty good pizza.  Their “like it” percentage on Urbanspoon is pretty low though.  No idea what’s up there.

Vincent's Pizza Park on Urbanspoon Vincent's of Southpointe on Urbanspoon

Which Vincent’s is your favorite?  Which Vincent’s location is the best & the original?  (I think it’s Vincent’s in Forest Hills)

Please, chime in on any of these locations, any from my previous pizza post, or any that I may have missed.  I may dive into pizza chains next.  Pizza is always a subject of hot debate (and it goes well with beer).

Radical!

Radical!

Netflix: “Oops”.


A Netflix envelope picture taken by BlueMint.

Image via Wikipedia

Searched for this after some buzz on Twitter:

“We underestimated the appeal of the single web site and a single service,” Steve Swasey, a Netflix spokesman, said in a telephone interview. He quickly added: “We greatly underestimated it.”

You think?  Apparently a lot of people thought the same things that I did about the whole plan.  The whole article is interesting, and can be found here: Netflix Abandons Plan to Rent DVDs on Qwikster

Maybe now they can work on deals to stream more new movies… and a better back-catalog of older movies.  (Like the entire Star Trek movie series?)

I still love that Oatmeal cartoon.  I hope they do another one.

Qwikster is quite possibly the dumbest idea ever.


Image representing Reed Hastings as depicted i...

Reed Hastings is Absolutely Insane

Not only is it a dumb name, but separating the two services is ridiculous.  It had to be the answer to the question “What’s the worst possible thing we could do for business right now?”

Sorry.  I’m getting ahead of myself.  We all heard about Netflix recently separating their streaming and DVD services into two categories.  I thought I was in the minority, & while slightly tweaked at the price hike… kept with the two now individual plans.  I mean, I like access to the latest movies which are only available on DVD/Blu-ray.  I also like being able to go watch some older films in an instant without any planning whatsoever, and the cool TV shows available like the BBC’s Robin Hood that I would have normally never seen.

I’m sure there are people out there who think the streaming plan is useless, have no idea what Blu-ray is, and just want their DVD’s.  I’m sure there are people who want streaming movies… and probably can’t fathom why anyone would want physical media mailed to them.

I’m guessing that the same people who need a shelf full of 30 different kinds of peanut butter or an entire aisle full of bread varieties at the grocery store like to have options.  We also like things that help us get organized.

Having an online queue of movies that I’d like to watch is pretty cool.  Knowing that the same movie is available for streaming is also pretty cool.  The lack of this will be the opposite of cool, and I don’t understand how Netflix doesn’t see this.

This is also one of the strangest emails ever…

From: “Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix” <info@netflix.com>
To: me@my.email.address
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2011 3:25 AM
Subject: An Explanation and Some Reflections

Dear Eric,

I messed up. I owe you an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. Let me explain what we are doing.

For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us). So we moved quickly into streaming, but I should have personally given you a full explanation of why we are splitting the services and thereby increasing prices. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do.

So here is what we are doing and why.

Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever made is published on DVD. DVD is a great option for those who want the huge and comprehensive selection of movies.

I also love our streaming service because it is integrated into my TV, and I can watch anytime I want. The benefits of our streaming service are really quite different from the benefits of DVD by mail. We need to focus on rapid improvement as streaming technology and the market evolves, without maintaining compatibility with our DVD by mail service.

So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are really becoming two different businesses, with very different cost structures, that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.

It’s hard to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to “Qwikster”. We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery. We will keep the name “Netflix” for streaming.

Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to. It is just a new name, and DVD members will go to qwikster.com to access their DVD queues and choose movies. One improvement we will make at launch is to add a video games upgrade option, similar to our upgrade option for Blu-ray, for those who want to rent Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Members have been asking for video games for many years, but now that DVD by mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done. Other improvements will follow. A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated.

There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). If you subscribe to both services you will have two entries on your credit card statement, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix. The total will be the same as your current charges. We will let you know in a few weeks when the Qwikster.com website is up and ready.

For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy. The new envelope is still that lovely red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be similar for many of you.

I want to acknowledge and thank you for sticking with us, and to apologize again to those members, both current and former, who felt we treated them thoughtlessly.

Both the Qwikster and Netflix teams will work hard to regain your trust. We know it will not be overnight. Actions speak louder than words. But words help people to understand actions.

Respectfully yours,

-Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix

p.s. I have a slightly longer explanation along with a video posted on our blog, where you can also post comments.

This message was mailed to [me] by Netflix.
SRC: 1578.0.US.en-US
Use of the Netflix service and website constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
(c) 2011 Netflix, Inc. 100 Winchester Circle, Los Gatos, CA 95032, U.S.A.

This is Charlie Sheen level insanity here.  This may be even Gary Busey level crazy.  (By the way, why is he in those creepy local Kia commercials?) 

This long-form is even crazier: An Explanation and Some Reflections …along with this.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that none of your customers think this is a good idea.  Let me break it down for you:

  • The price increase for the base plan was dumb.  You realize that now.  Why not fix that?
  • A streaming-only service would be awesome… IF THERE WAS MORE CONTENT.
    • Streaming newer movies would obviously be the biggest draw.  Work out that licensing.  I know it’s not simple.  Figure it out.
    • Streaming more content & more current movies would make me buy new hardware.  Currently we stream Netflix through the Wii.  If I could get more new movies… I’d upgrade to a Bluray player that does streaming at a better quality or something like the Roku 2 player.
    • Old movies that are part of a series… only some are available.  You can stream The Wrath of Kahn but not the entire Star Trek series?  Dumb.
    • Special episodes/bonus content of DVD’s not available for streaming.  A minor annoyance, but still… Dumb.
  • I don’t want two distinct services where there was once one all-encompassing service.
    • One site to manage two queues is quite convenient.
    • I don’t want 2 separate charges for 2 separate services where there once was one.  I’m guessing no one else does either.
    • I don’t want to figure out for myself what’s available for streaming & what’s available on DVD.  Especially if I’m paying twice the price for the service.

Imagine going to your local pizza shop and they decide that they’re only going to do pizza because they do dough, sauce, & cheese really well.   If you want any toppings, subs, bread-sticks, drinks, or a salad… you need to go across the street and buy them.  Oh, now the place across the street sells wings too!  They have separate menus… but it’s just across the street, so no big deal, right?  Does this sound like a great idea, Reed Hastings?

Ridiculous.

[Woah – The Oatmeal read my mind!]