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

Teal Pumpkins Are Not a Political Issue.


Never read the comments.

I wish I could follow that advice. Wading through the temperamental pool that is social media, one occasionally finds a bright spot in a news story. I thought I found that with an article posted by a local news channel notifying those that aren’t already in the know about the significance of teal pumpkins.  It subtly linked to this cool little video:

Simple enough, right?

It’s a brief article explaining the significance and the history of the Teal Pumpkin Project.  If you go through to the FARE website, you an even get free activities and advice for non-food treats.  We have participated since 2014, and I have written about it before.

View this post on Instagram

#HappyHalloween! #TealPumpkinProject #StaySafe!

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

Then, I read the comments.

Some people are garbage.  I mean, I know that is harsh, and I know what we are supposed to be kind to everyone, but that can be a struggle when people out themselves as disgusting human beings.  Did these people not ever watch Mister Rogers?

I think this is why they are teaching kids these days to “Be The I in Kind” or to Be the kind kid.  They’re not going to pick it up at home if these are the mentoring adults.

REALLY.

 

I had a few replies that still stand.

To some nut job making this political:

Just so I can understand, how do any of the following (totally optional) things ruin your holiday, and just exactly how are they associated with liberals?

1. Putting out a symbol to indicate that your house is safe for food allergies.

2. Providing nut and/or gluten free treats, and maybe even non-food treats in addition to whatever you normally provide.

3. Displaying compassion and empathy to others already afflicted with a life-altering medical condition.

4. Teaching others by example how to be kind to others.

I never did get a direct reply there.

To the uniformed, absolutely resisting this new information:

No one is forcing you to buy a teal pumpkin or to pass out allergen safe treats. The article is just to inform you of the meaning so you don’t buy one as a decoration just because it matches your cold frozen emotionless heart.

Just some more advice:

We have been doing this for years. Having food allergies myself, dining out, social gatherings, and many events can be a harrowing experience.

We have 3 separate bowls… traditional things like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, nut-free stuff like Smarties, and a bowl of totally non-food treats like pencils, stickers, little toys, etc.

We help spread awareness, the toys go as well as the candy, and hopefully we teach a bit of kindness and empathy.

I don’t even have the energy to get into the “it’s been a tradition for hundreds of years” comment.  I think candy and trick or treating weren’t a thing until about the 1920’s in the United States… so that’s ONE hundred years ago at best.  The push for chocolate was after WWII’s rationing… So, kick it back to 70 or so years.  Earlier Celtic/Samhain traditions probably didn’t involve candy, but what do I know?

So please, this year, show a little compassion, empathy, and kindness.  Pass the word along to your friends, family, and neighbors.  You don’t have to preach about it, but you can lead by example.  Also, learn to recognize the signs of an allergic reaction for yourself, your friends, and your community.  You may help save someone’s life!  That is, if it doesn’t inconvenience you in any way or support the grand liberal agenda.

 

 

 

So, I set up a living room rig. 🎸


This morning I felt like playing the guitar. I didn’t feel like jamming in the basement by my work bench where all my stuff is set up. I didn’t bring up the Laney 2×12 or the Orange Micro Terror. I brought out the Fender Blues Jr. & a Yamaha MSR100 powered speaker so I could run my new DigiTech Trio into two different outputs.

The Trio was a birthday present from my wife. It was on backorder from Sweetwater for a while & we have been really busy so this was my first chance to try it out.  I set it up like this…

Living Room Rig Setup

It started out as a pile of stuff in the corner.  Then I remembered that I had an old RCA-Victor TV cabinet in the garage purchased from our house’s previous owner that I thought about turning into an amp someday.  The Blues Jr. fit where the TV went, and the Yamaha PA fit underneath where the speaker grille is.

Then I had a cabinet and I pile of pedals.  So, I cut up a milk crate and made a goofy pedal board with a Donner power supply & some zip ties.  The “board” fits inside the cabinet with the blues Jr. too.  It was a morning long project but it felt good to get it done & know I can jam a lot more easily.  It may be tricky if I just want to use the Trio & some headphones.

I do have a Dirt & Ernie pedal & an A/B/Y that I use to run the Jr. & Micro Terror at the same time.  Maybe a board extension will eventually be in order?  How cool would it be if the doors came off & were the pedalboard?

Oh well.  Enough monkeying.  Time to jam.

I will eventually have to give a serious(?) evaluation of the Trio.  I do already know I want a looper now.  Ha ha.  It was pretty intuitive & loads of right out of the box.  My 4 year old told me to turn it down right away, so it had to be cool.  Right?

 

Monkeying with the DigiTech Trio:

I apologize for the “living room while the wife and kids are home” volume, and the Crocs.

 

My little dude seemed to like the idea.  He has all the moves down.  Maybe some day he will want to play too!

Do you have a living room, bedroom, or other small setup rig?  Share some in the comments!  Any thoughts on any of this equipment?  Any tips for the Trio?  You can comment below here at the blog with WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, or a Gravatar login.

Degenerated


What’s Johnny doin’ out on a Tuesday night?

The song “Degenerated” from the movie Airheads is one of my all-time favorites.  If you’re a fan of the movie, you no-doubt know the song.  And if you’re a music nerd in general, you probably know that it’s a Reagan Youth cover.  I would love to know more about the song.  I have collected most of the “who,” but I would love to know the “why.”

Check out the two songs and then we’ll get into why I have so many questions & what they are.

OK, here are the players involved from the information that I gathered on Wikipedia, IMDB, Discogs, & wherever else I clicked;

Here’s what I want to know;

  • Who decided to use the song?  The director, the music guy, the writer, the musicians?
  • Why that song?  The running joke about Chazz writing the song for his girlfriend or before he met her makes it even funnier because I wouldn’t remotely call it a love song.  Did someone just really like the song?  Was licensing cheap all around?  Did they ask Paul Cripple for permission?  What does he think of the song?  Did Dave Insurgent ever get to hear it?
  • Why metal up a punk rock song?  They seemed like an 80’s holdover kind of band.  Was it a statement on Grunge being a punk n’ metal hybrid?
  • Why are there different chord changes?  The chord progression is different, but the melody (and I use the term loosely) is the same.  The cover may be tuned below standard if I remember correctly?  Someone more musically versed may be able to explain the difference I just know when playing by ear on guitar they’re totally different progressions.
  • Why the lyric change?  ( I assume to keep the movie rated PG-13?)  Most notably a removal of the F-word and references to constipation (Lone Rangers Lyrics/Reagan Youth Lyrics).  Who made the changes?
  • Who played drums?  Jay, Sean, Bryan, or were there other uncredited musicians?

“The Lone Rangers? That’s original. How can you pluralize ‘Lone Ranger?'”

I’m sure I have more questions that I haven’t thought of here.  Does anyone out there know the explanation?

It is 2017.  I may have to reach out via Facebook , Twitter, or email to all of the players involved to see if I can get an answer.  (If they even remember.)

Sadly, Dave Insurgent passed away in 1993 & Bryan Carlstrom passed away in 2013.

I just really dig both versions of the song, the movie, and that it led me to checking out more Reagan Youth.  Is it weird to be a fan of a song by a fictional band?  Hey, I dig “Three Small Words” too, and that was produced by Babyface.

Do you like either version of this song?  Do you have a song by a fictional band that you really dig?  Do you know any of the relevant information here?  Let me know in the comments!

Now I’m off to look at naked pictures of Bea Arthur and eat cottage cheese out of a football helmet.

At my signal, unleash a $3 VHS cassette.


So, browsing one of the local flea-market/yard-sale type groups on Facebook, I discovered this post…

Gladiator on VHS for sale. Only $3.00 American!

Gladiator on VHS for sale. Only $3.00 American!

As you can imagine because I’m blogging about it, many questions came to mind.  It’s hard to even know where to begin.

We’ll start with the obvious.  Who would pay $3 for a VHS cassette of any movie, let alone this movie?  I mean Gladiator was a good film… but here is a shortlist of better values available online…

This is just for physical media.  I didn’t even look into streaming.  I get that not everyone is set up to stream and that some people (myself included) like to put their hands on physical tangible media.

Who has a working VCR?  OK.  I do, but I’m odd.  It’s a VCR/DVD-recorder, and someday I will transfer all of my VHS tapes to DVD (which is already a dead format).  Who is still watching video tapes?  I mean, watching the old 4:3 aspect ratio drives me nuts these days.

The other side of this… who goes through their stuff, decides they can part with this, and assigns a $3 value to it?  I mean, I could see if this was a collector’s item.  I have Star Wars on VHS and I’ll probably have it forever, but The Gladiator?   Sure, it was a good movie… but not that good. Why were they even still making video tapes in the year 2000?

What do you need that badly that costs $3?  This wouldn’t be worth the gas money or the bus fair to meet someone to make the sale.

I have been strapped for cash, but never would think to list what essentially amounts to garbage for a negligible value on a Facebook flea market group.  If this sells, I really have a lot of stuff that I need to be listing for under $5 amounts.

So, I have an idea for a TV show: #MissionariesImpossible ⛪


Yup.

What do you think?  Would you watch it?  TLC is pretty close to that any way.  I’m fascinated by all the shows with the Browns and the Duggars and the crazy Amish and Mennonite kids.

OK, “Missionaries Impossible” isn’t the best title.  Have a better idea?

I’m not poking quite as much fun as you may think.  I have gotten into some lengthy discussions with evangelizing Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I have done some mad research on Mormonism.  They would both probably call themselves Christians, while most Christians from Roman Catholics to Creation-museum-loving Evangelicals to super liberal UCC‘ers would probably give a hearty “No, no, no, they’re not with us…” when they’re brought up.

I admire the chutzpah of anyone willing to “sell” their faith door-to-door.  Even if they do (like royal ass-hats) choose to do it on Christmas day.  Yes, that happened to us once at my wife’s parents’ house.

I can totally get not celebrating religious holidays with pretty much no regard as to the events they’re supposed to commemorate.  I don’t see a problem with polygamy (yes, I know that’s a very small percentage of fundamentalist Mormons that even Mormons don’t like to talk about) as long as all parties are consenting adults.

I would guess that there are things that we can learn from each of them, and what better way to do it that to let them try to out-missionary each other?

 

A chat with Comcast… “This is a rare and complicated issue.”


Comcast Remote Mascot Rubber Suit 2011 Festiva...

Comcast Remote Mascot Rubber Suit 2011 Festival of the Arts June 04, 201124 (Photo credit: stevendepolo)

We’ve all called the cable company, right?  We all know the steps in the process; The unplugging, the replugging, the test signals.  It descends into ridiculousness pretty quickly.  So does my chat with technical support.  This was after trying the unplugging/replugging solution, calling the line and getting the automates system to send a test signal to my cable box & tell me to wait a half an hour for it to take effect, and then talking to a real live person who sent the same signal, told me to wait 45 minutes for it to take effect, and managed to advertise their home phone and internet services… on a technical support call.   That’s more annoying that seeing catering advertisements everywhere in Panera & Boston Market.

chat id: a543eaef-97d5-4dbf-b2ad-9222056467f0
Problem: Not all channels are displaying on 2nd cable box s/n:############. Problem has been occurring all week. I have tried the unplug/replug trick, called the 800# 2x, automated sys & operator both sent reset signal to the box to no avail.
Eric > My Issue: Not all channels are displaying on 2nd cable box s/n:############. Problem has been occurring all week. I have tried the unplug/replug trick, called the 800# 2x, automated sys & operator both sent reset signal to the box to no avail.
Jerand > Hello Eric, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Jerand. Please give me one moment to review your information.
Jerand > Oh my, I can’t imagine myself having those equipment issues especially that cable TV is part of my daily routine, no worries, we’ll definitely work on a sure fix to resolve this one way or the other.
Jerand > I’m really sorry that you have experienced this issue.
Jerand > I am seeing here that you have problem in getting channels with your box, correct?
Eric > Thank you Jerand.
Eric > That is correct. Not all channels are displaying on my box.
Eric > For example, the History Channel. (#53 regular, 876 digital.)
Eric > I had a similar issue when I first installed these new HD boxes.
Jerand > Are you able to see history channel in channel 46?
Eric > s/n above was somehow replaced by an emoticon… actual s/n: ############
Jerand > How may boxes do you have, Eric?
Eric > No, I try to see channel 46, and it takes it to 47 (AMC), still no picture.
Eric > We have 2 boxes. The other one is working perfectly fine. Watching H2 right now in HD.
Jerand > So you have 2 HD boxes, correct?
Eric > Yes, that is correct.
Jerand > Thanks for clarifying that.
Jerand > I am going to perform a diagnostic check of your services and equipment. This “Health Check” verifies the current status of your equipment and you services. It should only take a minute or two for the results. Would you mind staying on the chat?
Eric > No problem, Jerand. I would like this issue to be resolved tonight if possible.
Jerand > Thanks for clarifying that.
Jerand > I appreciate your cooperation.
Jerand > Thank you.
Jerand > By the way, let me share with you a very entertaining Comcast feature. Did you know you can watch many of your favorite TV shows and movies online at no additional cost with Comcast. Check out http://www.xfinitytv.com to watch the latest TV shows, relive a favorite television moment, or just relax with a movie. All you need to do is to open a browser, type http://www.xfinitytv.com and you can start to witness thousands of fascinating titles and TV shows.
Eric > Thanks for your help, I look forward to the “Health Check” results.
Eric > That sounds interesting, but I don’t watch much TV on my computer.
Jerand > Thank you for patiently waiting. I apologize for it being longer than you expected.
Jerand > I don’t see anything on your account or any outage in your area that would be causing this issue.
Jerand > Can you please check on your box and see if there is any progress.
Eric > Thanks Jerand. Our working cable box did cut out & come back on…but the box that’s not working is still not working.
Jerand > Is that with the same box, correct?
Eric > Yes, that is correct. Box ############ is still not working correctly.
Jerand > Please bare with me.
Eric > No problem.
Jerand > Would you allow me 2-3 minutes to check on this again?
Eric > Yes, be my guest. Thank you!
Jerand > You are most welcome.
Jerand > While waiting I want to introduce to you comcast.com, Comcast.com has an extensive series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that cover all of our products. Customers do not have to sign in to access the FAQs. Quick steps to do it. Open a web browser window and go to http://customer.comcast.com/Pages/HelpNFC.aspx?id=Comcast-Help-and-Support-Cable-TV On the home page, the navigation menus are on the left side of the window and click on Customers then Help and Support.
Jerand > Oh, by the way.
Jerand > Are you having skipping channel issues?
Eric > I’m trying chat because both of my phone calls to 1-800-XFINITY amount to being as helpful as asking my wall to fix the cable box. I’m not sure what you mean by skipping channels?
Jerand > Can you please tell me what channels are you trying to watch?
Eric > Thank you for informing me about the FAQ. You may want to tell your managers/superiors that it’s quite annoying to have Comcast features or other services advertised to you while you’re on chat (or on a phone line) trying to resolve a technical issue. I understand that you’re just doing your job… so I can’t get mad at you. It’s a goofy idea.
Eric > I am trying to watch the History Channel. Either 53 regular definition or 875 HD.
Eric > Actually, the box that WAS working fine… now has “To Be Announced” in every time slot in the guide menu.
Jerand > Sorry about the the advertisement.
Jerand > When you access channel 53 and 758, TCM and HISTORY HD, what can you see on the screen?
Eric > Again, I understand it’s not your fault or decision, Jerand. You are trying your best to help me out.
Eric > I see a black screen (with a temporary blue info box at the bottom) when I try 53 & 758. Those aren’t the correct channels for my area.
Eric > 53 is the History Channel here.
Eric > The menu shows that American Pickers should be on right now, but it’s a black screen.
Eric > No sound.
Jerand > Thanks for clarifying that.
Jerand > Hold on a minute please.
Jerand > This is a rare and complicated issue.
Jerand > This could be a box problem.
Eric > No problem.
Eric > Is there a way that I can get a new box to install?
Jerand > May I know the type of connector that you are using to connect the cable box to your TV? i,e. RCA(yellow, white, red), Component(blue, green, red), Coax(the same wire used to connect the box to the wall).
Jerand > Correct! It is really possible. You can swap your box at your nearest local office.
Eric > Component.
Jerand > Do you have an HDMI wire?
Eric > The TV that I’m connecting to doesn’t have an HDMI input. It’s an older flat screen with only DVI, component, & coax inputs.
Eric > I am able to see some channels with no issues. 802 (local KDKA channel 2 for example) is displaying properly.
Jerand > Can we follow these steps please:
Jerand > 1. Locate one of the following buttons on your TV remote- Input, TV/VCR, Source. Press whichever is available. 2. Select the correct input. Please take note of the following. ***If you are using HDMI cable wire to connect the box to the TV, make sure your TV is on HDMI input. *** If coax cable, it should be on channel 3 or 4. *** If component cables (colored wires), on Video or Aux.
Eric > Yes, I have the component cable connected, and the TV is on the input setting for the correct connection.
Eric > Jerand, I’m really really not an idiot. I’m actually quite technically savvy.
Jerand > I’ve reviewed our systems and we’ve performed the necessary troubleshooting. Obviously there is still an issue so I feel the best method is to open a ticket to report this to our technician team.
Jerand > I believe this is a defective box.
Jerand > You can swap this box at your nearest local office, Eric.
Eric > That would be awesome, but I work on the road & don’t have time to wait at home during the day for a cable technician to visit. Can I get a box in the mail & send one back? That’s how I got the HD boxes before.
Jerand > Sure! I would be glad to do that for you.
Eric > I have no idea where the local Comcast office is, or if I can even get there during their operating hours.
Eric > Jerand, you are a saint. Thank you for your time and persistence.
Jerand > Please give me a minute to process your request.
Eric > When you tell your manager/supervisor that the advertisements are annoying to customers, tell them that you need a raise.
Jerand > Acknowledge, Eric. I am sorry.
Eric > I think we may have a bit of a language barrier here. English isn’t your first language, is it? No matter. We’re arriving at an agreeable solution, my friend.
Jerand > Acknowledged*
Jerand > I am sorry for the typo, I am handling 4 customers now.
Jerand > But you are my first priority.
Eric > Wow, that’s a lot to handle! Thank you for your time.
Jerand > There would be a $9.95 fee for shipping the box, I will do credit this amount for an inconvenience.
Jerand > In order for me to validate this shipping transaction, I need to verify the account completely. For verification purposes, may I please have your account number?
Eric > Thank you, sounds like a plan.
Eric > Sure: ______________
Jerand > I am almost done, please give me 1 more minute.
Eric > Anything for you, my friend.
Jerand > Thank you for patiently waiting. I apologize for it being longer than you expected.
Eric > This is the best customer service I have ever received from Comcast.
Jerand > Here is your order # ______________.
Jerand > You will be receiving the HD box within 3-5 business days.
Eric > The people I talked to on the phone might has well have been robots.
Eric > Thank you, Jerand. Good luck with your other 3 customers! Don’t forget to tell your boss that you deserve a raise. (…and that in-support advertisements are more annoying than nails on a chalkboard.)
Jerand > You are most welcome.
Jerand > Just a quick recap, we have check the input on your box, connections, and since we have detected that this a problem with the box we prefer to change to box. We shipped and I already credited the $9.95 shipping fee.
Jerand > Just to let you know, at the end of this chat there will be a short survey. I would appreciate it if you would take a moment to complete it so we can continue to improve the service we provide to you.
Jerand > Is there anything else I can help you with? I am glad to assist you further.
Eric > Nope, that’s all tonight. I understand that a box is coming to my house, I will be credited the shipping charge, and that I know how to connect the box to my TV and select the correct input with the remote control. I also understand that there will be a survey. Will I get a credit on my cable bill for all the TV that I will miss in the next 3 to 5 business days while I wait for this box?
Jerand > Sure, I will also make sure you will not be billed for the interval where you had no service, so no worries, this is as good as fixed.
Jerand > Yes, you will be receiving that with 3-5 business days.
Eric > Dude, that RULES.
Eric > Thank you for your time & assistance.
Jerand > You are most welcome.
Jerand > Thank you for your patience and understanding as well.
Jerand > Is there anything else I can help you with? I am glad to assist you further.
Eric > Nope that’s all this evening, sir.
Jerand > I would greatly appreciate it if you can spare a few seconds to take the survey. Your favorable answer will inspire us to continue improving our service. Once you click on “EXIT CHAT” it is located on the upper-right corner of the chat box, you can now “TAKE SURVEY” highlighted in red. I am glad that I was able to Resolved your issue, there is no additional steps needed. Your feedback would mean alot to me.
Eric > Rock n’ roll! \m/ I’ll give you high scores on the feedback.
Jerand > You are most welcome.
Jerand > I appreciate your cooperation.
Jerand > Take care of yourself for me.
Jerand > Don’t forget the survey!
Jerand > Thank you for contacting Comcast! We appreciate your business and value you as a customer! If you need assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us through Live Chat or E-mail (available 24 hours a day, 7days a week). Comcast also offers great FAQ and Help forums located at http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/ to help you solve many issues on your own. You can also reach us through our Hotline 1-800-9346489 or 1-800-XFINITY. To close the chat, please click the exit chat or end session button now. You take good care always and have a wonderful night!
Eric > You too, my friend, you too!
Outsourced (film)

Outsourced (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apparently being a smartass can save you a couple of bucks off of your cable bill.  It never hurts to ask, right?  I could break down so many of those responses & analyze them… but I thought it was a fun conversation as a whole.

I took a survey afterwards, & left this in the comment box:

I had to call 1-800-XFINITY twice, then do a chat to get a resolution.  Jerand who was the last to chat with me was an exemplary employee… despite what I perceived as a slight language barrier.  Your tech support shouldn’t pretend they’re in the US when they’re not.  Jerand is the man.  Give him a raise.

Also…  STOP WITH THE ADVERTISEMENTS WHILE I’M TRYING TO GET A TECHNICAL ISSUE RESOLVED.  It’s annoying, insulting, and aggravating.  Why would I want to order more services form a company that can’t provide me with ONE service that works properly?

Hope that dude gets some recognition.  Ha ha.