Sunday, May 28, 2006

I am robot model 12345. How may I help you?

Working in a call center sets you up for interesting experiences. As a Liberty Mutual agent I was yelled at for calling when in fact they called me. At Leslie's Pool Supply I advised people on replacement parts for their pool equipment and offered treatment advice even though I have no real clue about pool maintenance besides what Leslie's pamphlets said. At HSBC I was yelled at, compared to bat guano and told what I should try doing with myself when I got a moment. At Vesta I have a different issue. As most of you know the world has become one automated phone option after another and unless you mess up you never talk to a person. I am the person that the computer sends you to when you do mess up. Being a person is the crux of my problem. When I say my intro and ask for the last four numbers of their wireless numbers a few people punch the number into the phone. Nothing beats a number being dialed on the phone while you are on it. I give people a break though because they probably were asked several times for the same info and maybe they just aren't paying attention. So I say "I'm sorry I did not get that number could you please say the last four numbers?" At this point you have a 50% chance that people will say the numbers and a 50% chance they will punch the numbers in again. My immediate response is to yell at them to knock it off and point out that I asked them to say the number but I refrain. Instead I don't yell I just calmly point out that I am thankful they are attempting to give the number but I need it verbally since I am not a machine. You are probably only half believing me but I swear it is true. I will give an acted out example.

The phone: Beep (my cue to talk)
Me: Thank you for calling __________! My Name is Mike my rep ID is __________. May I please have the last four digits of your wireless phone number?

Customer: Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!

Me: I'm sorry I did not catch that could you please SAY the last four digits of your wireless number?


Me: Thank you! Unfortunately I am not a machine and I am unable to understand the buttons you press. Can you please verbally tell me the last four digits of your wireless number?

Customer: (huge sigh) I just did!

Me: Actually....

Customer: Fine it's fififfoto!

Me: I'm sorry could you repeat that slower?

Customer: (larger sigh) FI! FI! FO! TO!

Me: Thank you sir, that was 5542?

Customer: YES!

Me: Thank you and may I have your.....

One time I actually had a person hit the buttons into the phone a third time. I hung up on that person. I figure they were messing with me or natural selection had failed....

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Birthday Training

Thanks for the birthday wishes everybody!

I was at work from 9AM to 6PM learning about the first visit to a company: The approach, what to say and what the goal is. Basically we are trying to set an appointment with them for later to explain the Aflac policies and benefits. Everything I learn about AFLAC so far has really got me excited. I am looking forward to putting what I learned into practice. I am not worried about falling flat on my face I have to get started somehow! Luckily tomorrow we get a chance to do that. We hit the pavement at 8 and besides lunch we are not stopping until 5. I am ready to set some appointments! Thursday we are back in training to learn what we do at the appointments. I have to fit in Action insurance sometime this week so I think I will be thoroughly exhausted by the weekend. I found out I need to request 3 more days off two weeks from now as well. The training is good though so I will try not to whine..... too much.

I have some reading and mental preparation to do before tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Before I go I did want to complain that since I moved to Oregon I stopped getting all the freebies from local businesses on my birthday. In Phoenix I used to get a free appetizer from Rock Bottom and I usually ended up with a few more free things in the mail.... Oh well.

Monday, May 22, 2006

We Give You Training For Your Birthday. WooWoo!

Hello all! I am going to attempt to make this quick....

I have to go to bed soon I am exhausted!

Some of you may know that tomorrow is my birthday. I am sure all of you know that I am broke..... I mention that at least once per week.... SO I did not have any plans for my birthday except for the possibility that I might get some training with AFLAC or I might do some marketing for leads. I hadn't heard anything about the training so I was not sure I would be able to get in. I had requested the 4 days off for the training which prompted my panic attack this weekend due to the lack of fundage that resulted in the nonexistent work hours..... The worst part about Saturday was that I had no idea if I was even in the class. I convinced myself that I wouldn't be and started envisioning tomorrow as a day of sleeping in until 8 AM and then doing some marketing and cold calling! The late start would have been luxurious considering my usual work time of 5. I couldn't wait until my shift at the call center was over this morning. All I had planned for the rest of the day was a meeting with my boss at the Action Insurance place to set up how to run the store while he was in Mexico for the week, a run to a used bookstore to cash in some books and maybe a little nap. I got out of work and headed to the bookstore when I saw a message on my phone; thinking it was probably Jason (my AFLAC trainer) I figured I would sell the books since I was there and then call him back and figure out when to meet with him this week. I sold the books for 19 bucks and felt very excited about it. I listened to the message and it wasn't Jason it was Jason's boss saying. "Hey Mike! It's 9 AM I was wondering if you were able to make it today. Give me a call." I instantly exclaimed "WHAT??!!!" and I gave him a quick call. Apparently I was supposed to be there at his office for a product overview and a few other things. I am still not sure how I was supposed to know this.... some people mentioned an email... but I have no email address as far as I know. I am still waiting for a company computer. So apparently the computer chip in my brain should have received an email.... unfortunately I was absent on the day they gave those chips out. Either way I was required to get there and I headed there post-haste! Luckily he was not upset because he knew I work the other job and I was able to say that I was ready to head to the training the next 4 days with no problems at all and that was what he really wanted me to say.... I didn't mention that my gas tank might go empty while I was training with no pay and not working at my crappy call center job... Figured that would be seen as a motivator as opposed to an obstacle so I tried to view the financial woes in that light without being told to think of it that way. Anyhow the best part was that this meeting included a free lunch! The boss man brought in some Hawaiian food from a local restaurant and it was awesome! I definitely need to know where that place is! I met with Jeff afterwords about the Action Insurance duties and this week I will be pulling a lot of hours between the two responsibilities.

So just what I always wanted a birthday where all I get to do is work! WOOHOO! I will type at ya later! I am headed to bed.

The Stores:

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Rain, Money Woes, The Cigar Smoking Gas Man, The Surprise and The Rubber Band Plane Memorial Ceremony

The day began with rain and dark clouds….. It was an ominous sign. I was at work looking at my schedule for next week and almost fainted from shock. I had all but forgotten that I had requested Tuesday – Friday off for the upcoming week and I had half believed they would not give it to me. I was wrong they did give it to me. So I am scheduled for only 15 hours next week…… I started calculating my budget and came to the sickening conclusion that even with the usual 25 to 30 hours of work I was way off budget. I deduced that since I have not friviously bought anything except for the planes and the Frisbee at the dollar store it must be because of the lack of work hours earlier in the month. I started freaking out, my stomach was upset and I was not sure if I would keep my oatmeal down…. I kept taking calls and worrying about my monetary issues until I was released from my internment. I stepped outside into the surprising sunshine. I hardly noticed the weather change; I was too busy planning the sell of all my valuables. I saw boxes of books, cds, movies and comics all heading down to used bookstores, music stores, comic stores and pawn shops. I then imagined myself paying half of the money earned to the gas attendant, the gas attendant was smoking a cigar made of 100 dollar bills and laughing at me……

I arrived home to a note on my door from UPS saying I had a package at the manager’s office…. I was not sure what it was. So I grabbed the sticker and walked over to the manager’s office and was handed a Cafepress (these guys produce my store items) bag… I took it home and ripped it open and found a CLD Ringer shirt and a Rent My Dad Messenger bag! It was a birthday present from Maryann (you may remember that she was reader of the week a little while back) and it made me smile. I immediately changed shirts and started stuffing things in the bag. I walked around modeling the stuff for George and Baz. They were very impressed! I was still majorly worried about rent and all the bills that were due next month and the fact that I only had a fraction of the money for but I felt a little more positive worrying about those things with my shirt on and my new bag by my side. I started grabbing books off the shelf like I had planned to do anyway when I remembered that Kevin was working so I figured I should email him and bother him while he was at work. I also used that time to finish up my last Father’s Day design for my Holiday store. While I was doing all of that I made a half dozen calls to people’s answering machines until I finally reached my dad. After a few seconds of restraining myself from being all doom and gloom I launched into my financial nightmare tale of woe. He managed to calm me down considerably but I still plan on selling some books and cds for cash. I hope they will help me pay a bill or two.

So I was in a better mood. I finished my designs for the Father’s Day merchandise and got the CLD Holiday Store up and running. I decided to take my bag out for a stroll and I headed to the park but before I left I grabbed my remaining half of the wing from the plane that was tragically lost on Thursday. As I entered the park I found the plane devouring tree from Hades and I did a little ritual to memorialize the loss of my ultra cool plane which consisted of me waving the wing fragment around in front of the tree and giving the tree the ‘evil eye’. After I felt the point was made I headed into the park. I discovered that the park seems to be getting ready for renovation because all the movable benches were gone and the road through the park was closed…… and the entrance had been repaved. Oh and the road closed for renovation sign helped me figure it out as well….. Nothing gets by me! I’m CAPTAIN OBVIOUS! Wherever something is completely obvious and in no need of being pointed out you can count on me, CAPTAIN OBVIOUS! to point it out. This has been another episode of CAPTAIN OBVIOUS! Next Episode: With the heat soaring CAPTAIN OBVIOUS! comes by to tell you “It’s HOT today!”

I found some more interesting things that sparked my interest in the park and I began visualizing this blog entry. Except with a completely different tale…. So not like this entry at all. CAPTAIN OBVIOUS! strikes again. I decided to head back home and on the way out I stopped to give the tree the ‘evil eye’ as I left when I saw my plane sitting below it. I ran to the plane and grabbed it and then hugged the tree…. I guess what they say about Portland is true; it turns you into a tree hugger. Dang hippie!

The Stores:

Powered by Qumana

Thursday, May 18, 2006

My dollars worth or The tree that ate my plane

Thursday..... my day off this week. In a surprise move I was given Monday and Thursday off this week. Which means I work both weekend days.... Which only slightly bothers me. I was able to spend some time both days learning a little more about AFLAC. I don't have anyone to hang out with this weekend anyway.

My friend at work (the call center work) has been MIA so I assume he quit. If he happens to be you... give me a call we should grab a beer.... The bad part about him quitting is now work is that much more painful to be at. I knew when he was working there I would have someone to shoot the breeze with at breaks. I have been deluged with stupid neighbors since he left. This one guy that sat next to me Wednesday was overly loud and full of advice. I felt like smacking him as he tried to help me. I didn't ask for help and it isn't my job to help troubleshoot phones for people so why was he chiming in? Shouldn't he be taking calls? I almost kicked him.... Oh well. At the moment this job is the only one paying bills so I have no choice but to go..... I can't wait until I have a choice.

Speaking of paying bills. Last week I got the idea that I should do some extra time at work. Of course the minute I decide that they stop offering overtime but I did manage 3 hours extra. Today when I checked my bank account I saw that I hadn't made anymore then normal.... That kind of totally deflated my sails... That extra 3 hours made for a long and painful day but absolutely no monetary gain. I was expecting to be able to tell on the paycheck.... maybe have ten dollars more then normal... but instead it was exactly the same as normal.... I will be studying the pay stub when it arrives.

I needed to pick up some things from the dollar store (I shop here because of my measly paychecks and because I like the place as well) like sandwich baggies and some lunch snacks like pretzels and the cracker and cheese packs. While I was there I wandered around the store and ended up picking up a 3 pack of airplanes you launch with a rubber band and a frisbee that looked like a propeller. When I got home I packed a little picnic, an airplane and my frisbee and headed to the park. Within 5 minutes I had ripped the airplane wing in half. I decided to see what would happen with just half the wing. It flew farther but the flight was a spiral. I learned one reason that the wings are so big on an airplane, the flight would be horrible and people would die because they blacked out during the flight and the plane crashed.... I was having a blast any way and the frisbee was pretty much forgotten when my airplane took a startling right turn into the top of a tree and disappeared. I couldn't shake it down and I couldn't even see where it went. It was like Amelia Earhart's lost flight.... never to be seen again... Charlie Brown has a kite eating tree and I have an airplane eating tree. With my airplane swallowed by a demon tree from Hades I turned to my frisbee. The first few launches went no where. I decided to throw it up and that was when it worked. It was actually quite fun once I figured that out. It would speed upward and then top out and on the way back down it would level out and start spinning and float down slowly. It was impossible to predict where it would land. It did not seem to be something you would throw around with a couple people because it simply didn't fly right. I was tossing the frisbee and chasing it down when I found one of those heavy duty frisbees they use in the ultimate frisbee game and the frisbee golf things. I waited a few minutes before I snagged it to see if anyone came running at me and when no one did I started slinging that thing around and let me tell you that thing could fly! I stopped for a while and broke out my snacks and had my picnic. I was quickly out of water so I had to head back. I stopped by my plane devouring tree and shook it a few more times but my little plane was gone! I gave up, for the second and final time and left the park. On my way back I found a racquetball and I had a new toy to play with as I walked. It was like an amazing toy discovery day today.

I have a new store that will be opening officially Saturday. Yes that makes the 3rd store in a week. You can get a sneak peak today by going to Which is where all the big holiday gifts will be. The next holiday I am designing for is Father's Day. I have 2 designs up and 2 more designs in the works. them out today!

Don't forget to check out my other new store for cds and movies, And remember this one is available to be used by artists, writers and other entreprenuers. If you have something to sell let me know! We can get you online!

And the old standbys:
Rent My Dad Store
Stewey Store Store

Have a great day!


I am selling a few movies and cd's cheap! I will also be selling other items like stories, poems, photographs, and comics here in the future! Go and check out the newest stores! Movie Store & CD Store

Do you have items that are in good condition? I can sell them for you as well. Are you an artist, writer, photographer, seamstress or crocheter? I can host your items for sale as well! Ask me how!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

This was funny

Stephen Colbert was invited to give a speech for some odd reason for the White House Correspondent's Dinner. Who was in charge of that decision?

Stephen Colbert With the Prez!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Where was I.....

Well I took a weekend break....

Did ya miss me? Of course you didn't! You guys have things to do besides live on the Internet! I'm not bitter! Ya big fancy party all the time people! Not bitter at all....

What did I do with my weekend with out the blog? It was jam packed with excitement. Let me lay it out for you... It may take several pages, Saturday: Work, Comic Store for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, eat left over tostadas, watch TV go to bed... Sunday: Lay around all day, it was raining so no exploratory walks, take a walk in the nearby mall and started feeling like stabbing people so I went home, sent out email to you all, watched TV went to bed....

Like I said action packed! I bet you were amazed by all that excitement!

Anyway back to FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! Every May they have Free Comic Book Day at comic stores. Last year I was in Kevin and Becky's wedding so I never made it to the comic store. I kind of feel like burning their house down over it but I won't... This year I did get to go and I got 3 free comics, 2 little toy characters, a music download card worth 50 free downloads and a couple posters! Woowoo! It was like Christmas!

The mall...... hmmm...

The mall is an interesting place. There were way to many people there for me to handle. What is with people stopping in the middle of the aisle? GET OUT OF THE WAY! I almost ran into a few people on accident and had to restrain myself from barreling through other people on purpose! "Hmmm the mall is so crowded today! I think my 400 pound behind needs to stop right here and block 3/4 of the walkway while I talk with my 2 sons age 6 and 8 that way the combined weight of a large elephant." MOVE!! It boggles my mind. I felt like getting a cattle prod sometimes! The young kids were the worst. They just parked in the middle and pretended you didn't exist. How they could stand in the middle of a crowded mall flopping their heads about like that defies logic. It is places like crowded malls that make me realize why I never will buy a tazer. I would be tempted to use it. I was daydreaming about going all Blues Brothers in the mall and driving my car through it at high speeds with a cop car chasing me..... I can see the crash ending with the 400 pound woman trying to swat me away like I was a mosquito instead of a car going 60 miles an hour into her backside.

While I was busy not tazering people or trying to run them over with a car I noticed a job that must suck. This lady was standing by the big group of gum ball machines and was cleaning them and when I passed her a second time she was still standing there. I began to wonder if she was just a lazy member of the cleaning crew or if she was in charge of the bubble gum island. If she was confined to the bubble gum island I think she would really hate kids as they squeal about wanting gumballs as they walk by. Smearing their germ ridden hands all over the glass and screaming until the parents coughed up the quarters. She probably shouldn't have a tazer either.

I found a show I really like this weekend. It's called Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. It airs on the cartoon network and I watched it after I watched a few recorded episodes of another fave from that channel called Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The ATHF show is not for kids so it airs late at night but the FHIF is good for everybody and it is pretty entertaining to boot. So I added it to my list of shows to record. So if you like cartoons, you may just want to check out the show. It is about these imaginary friends and they all live in this house run by Mrs. Foster who is this little old lady with a mischievous streak. Her granddaughter is the caretaker and a stuffy old rabbit is the manager and he is always bellowing about rules. The main characters are Mack and his imaginary pal Bloo. Bloo is a rule breaker and tends to cause most of the trouble. Some of the other imaginary friends are just as much fun. A personal favorite is Edwardo who is this large purple guy with huge teeth and he has a Spanish accent. He is the biggest crybaby and scaredy cat and he makes me laugh out loud. The show is great! If you need a kid around for an excuse borrow one and watch this thing!

Well I hope your weekend was good... let me know! Drop me a line!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Assisted Living Apartments always have the best Look

Is it weird to anyone else besides me that some of the best looking apartments happen to be assisted living apartments? In my neighborhood most of the apartments are old and run down but the assisted living apartment complex is well maintained, beautiful and the newest non-office building around. I find it interesting. I think it has a small part to do with the reasoning that these people are forced to live in the apartment because they have requirements for assistance to accomplish day to day tasks. I think the other apartments are shabby because they figure only young people and poor peopl live in apartments. Which might be true. Then again this might be just my neighborhood is low rent and the assisted living is a large trend right now with all the aging baby boomers... whon knows

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cars, Pedestrians and My Name is Earl!

I hope you all had a grand Cinco de Mayo!! Otherwise known as Cinco de Drinko! I didn’t drink I just made some tasty tostadas (I forgot to buy tortillas for burritos). Either way they were extremely tasty!

I managed to do something different this afternoon. I didn’t head straight to the park like I swore I would instead I came home, had lunch and checked my email; it was completely empty as usual. Then I decided to head over to the library area and from there I walked to Sellwood and then back. The total trip was a little over 3 and a half miles. It was a nice walk. Sellwood has some nice looking cafes and coffee houses; I stopped in one and sat down to write with a large iced Mocha. The name of the place was Twin Paradox and it is open pretty late most days, which is always good to know. The walk did exactly what I hoped it would it started some new thoughts and I want to share this one with you.

One of my favorite shows on television is ‘My Name is Earl’. It is a great show that to me channels the spirit of that comedy gem ‘Raising Arizona’, I love this show. I was thinking about the opening where Earl gets hit by a car, after winning the lottery, and ends up in the hospital without the winning ticket. In the hospital he learns about Karma by watching Carson Daly talk about Karma and he decides to stop being a petty crook and to turn his life around by doing good things for people he wronged. He makes a list of his misdeeds and the show is all about him dedicating his life to setting right the wrong he caused and that is when the winning lottery ticket returns to him to help him accomplish his new goal. Anyway it is the car hitting him that started me thinking about things. I have always found people getting hit by cars on television and movies to be extremely humorous; even when it is not meant to be funny. The most glaring example of this happened in college. The show in question was ‘Felicity’. Ok sure go ahead and laugh it up. Yes, I saw an episode of ‘Felicity’. I was actually mooching food from some sorority girl and they started watching ‘Felicity’. Which brings up another point, college was where I learned that girls always have food. They might not have a television or a radio but they always have food. Where as single guys seem to have the gadgets and condiments but no actual food. That is one of the many reasons why guys need women…. I am still hazy on what the ladies get out of it. OK, back to the story I was heating up their leftovers from some restaurant when the show started. Trying out my good manners I decided to stay and socialize while I ate their food. So I tucked into watch the show. Felicity was being flirted with by some dumb guy that all the girls thought was charming because he was earnestly trying to win her over. In the scene I sat down for he is walking with her and finally gets a yes to a date and dramatically walks backward away from her right into an oncoming bus. Ok wait a minute let me stop laughing; the scene in my head still makes me laugh. Anyway I was laughing so hard that I was asked to leave and was not invited back for a couple weeks. The next example was very similar to this one. It was in the movie ‘Meet Joe Black’ starring Brad Pitt. The first part is this guy (Brad Pitt) flirting with this gorgeous girl (Claire Forlani). I am not sure but I think she was charmed by the guy and they part ways when Brad gets hit by a car and if I remember correctly he ricochets into another car and bounces off that one too; it was spectacular! It was like he had been turned into a pinball! I saw that scene and I was in tears of laughter. I do not remember the rest of the movie so you can see what I was thinking about while I was watching it; Brad Pitt as the human pinball. I mean how many times do you get to see people like Brad Pitt hit by a car? It was a beautiful thing! Other Examples include ‘The Craft’, ‘City of Angels’ and several other shows and movies. They have this happen as if it’s a common occurrence. What I find amazing is how many romance shows have some charming guy pulverized by a car after the girl gets interested. In my opinion it says a lot about women… or maybe it doesn’t. Either way I know it says a lot about me when I find these dramatic scenes and horrible scenarios so dang funny. It is kind of like when you are supposed to be quiet in church and all you want to do is giggle or like when you were a kid and you were being scolded and you try to be contrite but all you want to do is laugh. It is inappropriate but I would not change that reaction for the world. Before I leave you just picture with me: Brad Pitt bouncing off the hood of a car….. Leonardo DiCaprio as a human ice cube in ‘Titanic’. Ok the last one has nothing to do with a car but you have to admit that it gives you a smile to think of that scene.

Or not…

PS. Thanks for signing the Guest List Dad!