Free Swag From Guitar Center!


So, did you read the last post about the Guitalele & Guitar Center’s price match guarantee?  The whole thing is pretty awesome, especially if you’re a musician and you actively purchase gear.  It’s worth checking out, so click that link.

Once you’ve read that, this will make sense:

The gig bag & the stand are a perfect fit!  Thanks again to Luke for the excellent customer service, and to YaJagoff for sparking it!

Guitar Center does me a solid, and I didn’t even initiate it.


On the Saturday before Christmas, we were headed to a family gathering & gift exchange.  On the way, we stopped at Guitar Center in Monroeville so I could pick up a book of Christmas Carols that I had seen at the Guitar Center in Robinson.  I didn’t find the same book, but was pleased with two that I did find.

Guitalele GL1

Guitalele GL1 (Photo credit: matsuyuki)

Usually, I’m the one who lollygags in guitar stores, but the wife has taken up the ukulele, and over the past few years she’s the one that lingers near the ever-growing uke section at music stores.  In Monroeville’s Guitar Center, the ukes were right by the music books, so we both started looking.  Bethany was the first to spot our newest acquisition… The Yamaha GL1 “Guitalele“.  We both were fascinated by it, and I played with it a little as she asked “Do you want this as an early Birthday present?”

At first, I said no and went to hang it back up, but flipped over the price tag and saw that it was $99.99.  She gave me the “just get it” look, so we both new I just landed an early birthday present.  I do enjoy the wife’s ukulele, but the GCEA tuning did always mess with me.  Now I can play the ukulele without having to play the ukulele.  Although, if tuned “properly” the guitalele should be ADGCEA.  Of course, I dropped it to E because I didn’t like pretending it was a guitar with a capo on the 5th fret.  Although, I may have to get thicker strings or just suck it up & put it back in the A tuning.  They’re sort of like rubber-bands at this point.

Well, that’s just the first part of the story.  The second part stems from some interactions on Twitter.  I’ll try to post it all here as it happened, thanks to @YaJagoff and Luke from Guitar Center.

A simple question.  I gave the easy, flippant, and predictable answer.  Rock musicians are supposed to rail against the establishment and big business, right?  Well, Guitar Center proves to be awesome here…

These are the links I sent to Luke at Yourvoice@guitarcenter.com:

I only half-jokingly asked “Any chance I could get a gig bag or stand for free?”  I mean, it never hurts to ask, right?

I was met with a response saying I was getting both of them for free!  We discussed shipping details & the right size gig bag in a few more email exchanges… but they’re now on the way to me via UPS.

I’ve written to companies before, but I’ve never had any of them seek me out on a social media platform in a conversation that wasn’t even addressed to them.  It’s pretty cool that Guitar Center believes in their price guarantee so much that they actively go after any perceived detraction.  It’s also cool that they’ll not only go up against brick-and-mortar stores, but online retailers too.

That being said, the “little guys” could argue that they have no way to compete.  They can’t buy in quantities & therefore probably not at such a low price… so there’s no way they can pass on such savings.  Free enterprise, supply & demand, competition, it’s all very interesting & a continually evolving battle.

At any rate, I win out here… with a free gig bag & stand.  So, thanks to Ya Jagoff!!! & Luke for helping to set the whole thing into motion!  I’ll post some photos of the gig bag & stand as soon as I have them.

So, does the Guitalele count as a guitar in my “13 Guitars in 2013” goal?

So, I need help with my résumé.


I rarely ever blog about or post on social media about work.  My work life is work, and my personal life is personal.  I’ve never felt the need to discuss, vent about, or provide detail about my job.  I’m going to go ahead and break with that for this post.

Unfortunately, the time has come where I need to update my resume.  About a year and a half ago, the company that I was working for was sold, shut down, & liquidated.  A core group of people decided to try to move on & start a company in the same industry, and I was invited to be a part of it.  I was honored to be asked to participate, and glad to be gainfully employed.  Sadly, things didn’t pan out as planned, and the company is also in the process of shutting down.  Basically, I’m no worse off than I was a year ago.

At that time, I had an updated resume, and went on my first job interview in a long time.  I was offered employment elsewhere.  It may have worked, but the pay wasn’t where it needed to be for me to comfortably continue to pay rent and put food on the table.  I went with the group I knew & salary I needed.  I have no regrets, I’m just illustrating that I don’t have much job interview experience, but it has mostly all been positive.

Basically, I’ve been at the same job for 10 or so years.  In 2002, I started at an a/v integration company as the shipping guy.  That company was purchased in 2005 and I was hired by the new company, which closed in 2011.  Then on to the newest one where I was doing all slight variations of the same thing.  I liked my work, it was a nice mix of desk/paperwork & physical warehouse work sometimes, it was always different & challenging.  I have learned many rules, processes, & things about the equipment over the years.  I was able to adapt to many changes, and survived them all (up until now).

I need help with my resume.  I think I first updated this format in 2005, when it looked like I may have needed to search for other employment.  (Luckily, I was able to work temporarily for the new company, proved my merit, and was hired full time.)  In 2012 this format may be stale.  I’m not big on titles.  I call myself a “shipping guy” but I do much more than that.  I have more skills than a simple shipping guy needs.  I hate phrases like “team player”.  I am, but it sounds goofy.  Who reads that & doesn’t roll their eyes?  I’m generally not boastful (other than in jest), but this is one time when you need to be.  There’s a lot riding on a resume.  It gets your foot in the door.

I’m confident in my writing (thanks to this blog), but thrown into a resume it looks braggadocios, fragmented, & boring.  I love bullet points, but breaking things down into them, I feel like I lose cohesion.

I need this to grab someone’s attention, highlight what I can do & what I can offer, and get me a job.

Eric AiXeLsyD with the Batmobile

I have a lot of skills in my utility belt.

What do I want to do?  I’m certainly qualified for shipping, warehousing, and inventory jobs… entry level or supervisory.  Sadly, entry level pay may no longer be acceptable.  I could certainly do something else though.  I’m a quick learner.  I’d love to get paid for this writing / blogging / insanity thing (I mean… show/album/food reviews, photos, humor, goofy letters? I can do a bunch of stuff there).  Unfortunately I don’t have a degree.  Can you get one in shipping?  Certainly 10 years experience in shipping I would have learned anything that I could in 2 or 4 years of school?  I do have some training in graphic design & commercial art, I have experience in drafting (by hand even… does anyone remember that?), some talents that have yet to get me paid like drawing mazes and photography, and I recently completed classes in Microsoft Project… so I could even fill a “Jr. Project Manager” type role where I can learn as I go.  I’m certainly adept with computers, know old school (& also useless) html coding, and can pick things up rather quickly with any kind of program.  I can promote things like my band, the blog, and Food Allergies like mad online.  I think I’d be a good PR person, I just lack formal training or experience.  Maybe it’s time for something different.

So, I need help with my resume.  What works, what doesn’t?  1 page?  2 pages?  If  so, how do I fit it all on one or to pages (I think it kicks into an atrocious 3 now)?  What do I need to express?  Do I need a cheesy cover letter?  Do letters of recommendation help?  References right on the resume, or “provided by request”?  3 Personal/3 professional?  3 total?  Cover letter?  No cover letter?  Cover paragraph?

I’m laying it all out here and asking for your help.  Take a look at this resume and tell me what you think?

Please help me with my resume!

Click to check it out at Google Docs

Please excuse the format, it needs a new look… something anyway, and Google Docs may have messed with it a bit.  Other than that though… I ask you to be honest, brutal, constructive, and hopefully helpful.

Also… know anyone that’s hiring?  Are you hiring?  Point me in the right direction here.  I’m confident in my in-person interviews, and with anyone that already knows me or has worked with me.

Thanks in advance for your help.  I need to start hitting up InDeed, PA Career Link, etc. with my resume.  I know I have a lot of friends, family & readers that can help me out here.  It would be crazy to not use all of the resources at my disposal, right?

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?

Bronco Scores Again!


Well, I didn’t get Jalapeño Bites back at Arby’s yet, but I did answer a tweet from Radio Shack… and it got me a free T-shirt and some moral support for the cause!  Messing around on Twitter & insanity are well rewarded these days, I guess.

https://twitter.com/#!/RadioShack/status/190424115423887361
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/190425836485218304
https://twitter.com/#!/RadioShack/status/190454336034308097

I DM’ed them and told them of me real name and my cause.  I think more companies are engaging people personally & directly with Twitter like this, and it’s a great thing.  Who doesn’t like free stuff?

Today the mailman delivered some goodies…

Bronco Jalapeño wins a Radio Shack T-shirt!

Free stuff!

The card s pretty cool too!

Eric, While this shirt can't replace Arby's jalapeño poppers, we hope it comforts you through your withdrawal. Thanks for tweeting at us and for being a fan. Tweet us a pic of your new duds when your shirt gets there. Thanks again! - Billy

@Bronco_Jalapeno #ThanksRadioShack...? Yes, yes he does.

Hilarious.  How fun is that?  I do need some soldering stuff, I guess it’s off to Radio Shack for the stuff next time I need it!  (I might get a couple of capacitors to mess around with.)

So, thanks to Radio Shack for being cool, for the laugh, & for the T-shirt!

Bronco Jalapeño Rides Again!


So my friends, Arby’s is true to their word.  They said they’d send me some Bronco Berry Sauce, and they sure did.  (By the way, Bronco Jalapeño is my thinly veiled alter ego in case you haven’t been following along.)

https://twitter.com/#!/Arbys/status/184987918207680513

I walked into the house today and saw this rather large box on the couch where I normally sit.  My wife had arrived home a little while earlier, and brought it inside.  FedEx dropped it off on the front porch earlier in the day.

I saw my name, then the Arby’s logo, and I could hardly contain my excitement.

A case of Arby's Bronco Berry Sauce

...For me?

I mean, I thrive on the ridiculous, and this is most certainly ridiculous.  This couldn’t be a box full of Bronco Berry Sauce, could it?  Indeed, it could.  Absolutely ridiculous.  Personal supply?  I mean, I like to eat but…

240 Packs of Bronco Berry Sauce!

Yee-haw!

That is a whole lot of horses and berries!  Well, it would be… if Bronco Berry Sauce actually contained any broncos or berries.  The label on the box says that it’s 240 1.5 oz. containers of this decadently delightful dip.  It also contained this lovely letter…

Dear Mr. Carroll,   Your voice has been heard!  Believe me; no one takes sauces more seriously than Arby's. And, we know how a craving for our succulent Bronco Berry Sauce can send a person over the edge when they can't get their fix.   So, never fear. Arby's Bronco Berry Calvary has personally secured a box of the top-secret sauce just for you. Think of it as your own personal stash to satisfy that craving whenever and wherever it hits you.   Now, we know that your demands also included bringing back Jalapeno Bites to the Pittsburgh area. And, as you uncovered, restaurants in each market determine whether to serve the fiery goodness of Jalapeno Bites or the equally as delicious Loaded Potato Bites. While we cannot reverse the "Bites" decision at this time, we have shared your passion for the pungent peppers with the Marketing Team.   We hope that our small gesture has eased your pain and that you will reconsider your sauce sit-in.    Sincerely,  Hala Moddelmog President

Hala Moddelmog

Hala Moddelmog, President of Arby's

A letter from the President of Arby’s?  Hala Moddelmog rules.  I mean, I don’t see the presidents of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or Pizza Hut responding to a crazy person on the internet with such individually directed kindness & generosity.

I’m obviously going to need help finishing this case.  It expires in June, so I highly doubt we can get through it all.  Want some Bronco Berry Sauce?  I’m willing to share what is now a rarity in our region.

I’m saddened by the news that Jalapeño Bites won’t be returning to Arby’s in Pittsburgh any time soon, but I do believe that my emails have actually been passed along.  I will pass on the Occupy Arby’s sauce sit-in.  But I still may write a song, even if no one helps me.

Perhaps the song will be the thing that puts our market managers and the marketing team over the edge.  I’ll have to write to my new friend Ms. Moddlemog, and see exactly where to direct my comments.

I almost want to build something out of them.  It looks like 1 or 2 popped (or was squeezed) open, but it’s an acceptable loss.  I mean, it was free.  We had some Bronco Berry Sauce tonight with a few Tyson chicken tenders for dinner in lieu of boring old bottle barbecue sauce.

Bronco Jalapeño’s appetite may be satisfied for now, but my quest is not over.  Arby’s in Pittsburgh, are you listening?  Bring back the Jalapeño bites!  This potato bite shenanigans is just that, shenanigans.

To follow the story from the start, check out these posts:

  1. Arby’s :: Bronco Berry Sauce®
  2. OCCUPY ARBY’S
  3. You may call me… “Bronco Jalapeño”
  4. Conflicting Information from Arby’s… (Help Bronco Jalapeño write a song!)

The dangers of posting punk rock lyrics on the internet…


This whole thing just blows my mind.  You must read this story.  It’s entertaining and scary all at once.  It’s even oddly comforting to a certain extent… but mostly scary (and entertaining).  Sorry to make light of it all, but it’s quite amusing.  I think the author knows that, and was part of the motivation for sharing.

This is how I became aware of the whole thing…

@livefastdieawesome H E R E W E G O ! #fbi #foia

@livefastdieawesome H E R E W E G O ! #fbi #foia

Being a fan of letters to places, and this being a big place…  my interest was piqued…

https://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/188279495864754176

https://twitter.com/#!/LIVEFASTDIEAWSM/status/188279681487867906

https://twitter.com/#!/LIVEFASTDIEAWSM/status/188280201673838593

https://twitter.com/#!/LIVEFASTDIEAWSM/status/188281474171154432

https://twitter.com/#!/LIVEFASTDIEAWSM/status/188281885246504961

https://twitter.com/#!/LIVEFASTDIEAWSM/status/188286471155884034

Reading it floored me.  I mean how crazy is this story?  I can’t do it justice by framing or summarizing… Just go read it:

…even the stars are ill at ease.

I’m still waiting for part 2.  For real.

So kids, be careful quoting random song lyrics or movie lines on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or whatever’s next.  The FBI is watching you.  Or, don’t be careful and make your next highly political crust punk band J. Edgar Twitter or Facebook’em.  Make songs titles as provoking as possible.  Maybe you’ll get some agents to come to shows.

FBI Badge & gun.

FBI Badge & gun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Conflicting Information from Arby’s… (Help Bronco Jalapeño write a song!)


So, on one hand… Arby’s is trying to placate the great Bronco Jalapeño with the promise of personal gain.  I think.  They don’t flat-out say that, but that’s what I read from it.  What do you think?

http://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/184273238875062273

http://twitter.com/#!/Arbys/status/184282918540165121

http://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/184345272032305152

Arby's

Arby's

So they intend to silence the great Jalapeño with a free sample or some coupons?  Perhaps with just their word?  I have not received a reply to the tweet yet… and I’m not sure how they would send a supply of Bronco Berry Sauce as I don’t think Bronco Jalapeño has an address… unless they know that I am Bronco Jalapeño… (which isn’t too hard to figure out) but then again I don’t remember if I provided my address in their contact form, and they haven’t reached out to ask me for it.

On the other hand, I received this email…

From: “customerservice@arbys.com” <customerservice@arbys.com>
To: me@my.email.address
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 10:20 AM
Subject: Customer Feedback #474233

Dear Mr. Carroll,

Thank you for your comments regarding our Bronco Berry Sauce.  Our customer’s input and comments are always welcome and very important to us. We use this information to guide the decisions we make about our brand and our products. We have shared your comments with our Menu and Product Development team for future consideration. Also, Bronco Berry sauce is not available for retail sale.

 If you have any additional questions you can give us a call at 800-599-2729.

 Thank you again.

 Sincerely,
Arby’s Customer Relations

Allow me to translate a few key lines…

Arby's

No hat is too big for Bronco Jalapeño!

“We have shared your comments with our Menu and Product Development team for future consideration.” means a couple of things:

“We’ve shared your comments” means that it’s off of their collective customer service desk, so they consider the issue resolved, and can blame any further lack of progress or answers solely on the “Menu and Product Development team.”

“For future consideration” means I won’t get a reply from them either, and this will most likely go ignored, completely negating the statements “Our customer’s input and comments are always welcome and very important to us. We use this information to guide the decisions we make about our brand and our products.”

Perhaps I’m too cynical.

Also, Bronco Berry sauce is not available for retail sale” means “too bad for you!”

Oddly (or perhaps not), the # 474233 indicates a second query when I still have no answer to the first… # 473197.

I’m not sure if Arby’s communicates well internally…

https://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/184270277780307968
https://twitter.com/#!/Arbys/status/183361352306405376
https://twitter.com/#!/Arbys/status/183361594863005696

So I’m not sure what’s up there.

While we wait for clarification, will you help Bronco Jalapeño write a song?

https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/184273238875062273
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/184274132156944384
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/184345954655285248

It can be a protest song, maybe an old west ballad folk-type thing.

Twitter fun with Qdoba…


https://twitter.com/#!/4GQdoba/status/168050712926896128

https://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/168051715512352768

https://twitter.com/#!/4GQdoba/status/168054923727081472

https://twitter.com/#!/4GQdoba/status/168055105042657282