Category Archives: rant

No one cares about seeing you live.

I haven’t blogged in a while.

Kinda got bogged down by life, but I’ve had the itch, but didn’t want to write just to be writing.

I had to be inspired. You know what I’m sayin’?

Anywho…

File this under “rant”.

Remember when Ustream came out?

Everyone was so excited about being able to see their favorite artist, entertainer, comedian or speaker streaming live from an event.

The appeal of Ustream was the fact that you could see live events without actually having to attend.

Since Ustream, there have been many more copycats in its wake trying to replicate that appeal of Ustream with varying degrees of success.

Take for example Meerkat (now Houseparty), which purported to offer users the ability to stream events live directly from their mobile phones.

While streaming in the correct orientation was somewhat of a challenge, and getting people to tune in to your stream while your stream was live was also somewhat difficult, it did reinforce the belief that live streaming was a thing of the future.

Where Ustream had opened up something that people were really interested in, Meerkat took it one step further with their mobile app.

Then came Twitter which also offered a live streaming option in the form of Periscope.

And we all know how that went…

Does anyone actually use Periscope?
These live streaming forays were all followed up, of course, by Facebook Live, which is by far one of the more popular live streaming applications out there.

There are others out there too, like Instagram, but they’re all ‘also-rans’ so I’m not going to devote too much time reviewing each one.

Suffice it to say, if you’re trying to live-stream anything, you’ve got options.

So what does this all mean?

It means that people who have no business streaming their business to the world are all over my feed with their foolishness.  

That’s what.

Every workout, walk down the block, shopping trip, bar mitzvah – every mundane pieces of peoples’ lives are being streamed and broadcast live as if anyone gives two shits.

Why am I getting notifications that “Jerome is now live!”?

I don’t give a fuck!

There’s double entendres at play when you say something is live.

The obvious connotation, is that there’s something happening right now, in real time.

The other, is a form of slang, which implies that an event is exciting, engaging, ‘poppin’.

But nine times out of ten, Facebook Live events are anything but.

And I’m just going to put it out there, turning in a circle to give a panoramic view of your setting, walking around to create a sense of movement or holding your phone high above your head in your outstretched hand does nothing to make your stream any liver.

What has live streaming actually accomplished?

Deepened the cult of narcissistic personality that grips today’s society?

Giving folks a misplaced sense of importance?

Generating a glut of bad videos?

Do you Facebook Live or live stream yourself?

How many people have actually tuned in?

How many people have watched after the stream ended?

Few to none, I’m sure.

You’re probably thinking, “if I keep it up, more people will tune in.” Right?

Wrong.

No one cares about your live streams.

So stop.

You’re embarrassing yourself.

Leave a comment

Filed under branding, opinion, rant

Don’t be a douche. 5 customer service tips for dummies.

Marshall Field says, "Don't be a douche bag."

Marshall Field says, “Don’t be a douche bag.”

If you’ve been following the interwebs, then you’ve likely come across the story of the Comcast rep who fought the customer trying to cancel their service.

If you’re not up on the incident, a mini-recap is in order.

Dude wants to cancel his service. Wife calls Comcast and is abused by the rep for about 10 minutes. Frustrated, she hands the phone to dude, who is similarly abused for another 10 minutes. Inspired, dude decides to start recording and captures the last eight minutes of the rep’s totally ridiculous behavior.

You can listen to the call here.

As someone who suffered under the oppressive yoke of Comcast before Fios gave us free, I was not surprised by the shitty customer service experience.

And as someone who has experienced shitty customer service from brands like Louis Vuitton (I know how Oprah feels), I realize that customer service is no longer a self-explanatory term.

Every day, we are all faced by people in customer service roles that could give a fuck that their job is to be helpful, and instead have cultivated the art of showing you their full asses.

How many time have you been condescended to? Cut off? Passed inaccurate information? Yelled at?

Far too often, I’m sure.

So today, I’m sharing my top five tips for not being a customer service douche.

1. Remember that the customer is always right.

When I was growing up, I heard this maxim over and over: “the customer is always right.”

Businesses knew that customers kept them in business, and they knew that they had to keep their customers happy. How, pray tell, did they do that? By teaching their public-facing reps that their job was to keep the customer happy. Happy customers meant more sales. More sales meant higher revenues. Higher revenues meant profits. Profits allowed the business to thrives. Ergo, happy customers equalled a thriving business.

If businesses treated their customers like kings and queens, they could never go wrong.

2. STFU.

I used to work with a dude who would routinely black out on customers. He was so abrasive, so condescending, so insulting and dismissive, that I marveled at his ability to keep his job.  As project managers, we’re frequently on the receiving side of abuse, so inwardly, I rejoiced at the “Fuck you!” he routinely doled out.

But outwardly, I was more often alarmed about how poorly he understood his role. His whole attitude demonstrated that he didn’t get the fact that his behavior was a reflection of the brand that employed him. My advice to him, which he failed to observe – ultimately to his demise – was “hold your tongue.” When you’re feeling frustrated and want to go off on your client/the customer, take a breath and shut the fuck up.

3. “I’m sorry.” and “Thank you.”

When customers are mad, you’ve got to recognize they’re looking for scalps. Invariably, by the time they reach you, they’ve already run the gauntlet, gotten the run-around or are simply so frustrated with whatever it is they’re dealing with, that the need no excuse to go thermonuclear.

There are no greater calm-inducing words, than “I’m sorry.” When you say “I’m sorry” as a customer service rep, you’re telling the customer “this is our fault” and putting yourself at their mercy.  Similarly saying “thank you” throughout your interaction, even for the slightest thing, helps to establish that you’re appreciative of the customer working with you to resolve their issue.

4. Never bite the hand that feeds you.

Always remember that the person on the other end of the phone, opposite you at your desk, or on the other side of the counter, directly or indirectly pays your salary. In essence, the customer is your boss. If you wouldn’t tell your boss to (proverbially) kiss your ass, you shouldn’t tell the customer either.

If you treat the customer like your next paycheck depends upon how satisfied they are with your interaction with them, you can’t go wrong. Unless you don’t like money.

5. Don’t be an asshole.

At the end of the day, when someone is having a problem, which you’re in a position to assist them with, your attitude is the last thing they want to deal with. Sure, the customer may be a total jackass, with no home training, and just because you picked up the phone, you’re in their crosshairs and the object of their abuse.

But their lack of home training doesn’t give you license to treat them badly. If you can’t figure out if you’re being an asshole or not, act like you’ve got your grandmother on the other end of the phone, and treat them accordingly.

It’s really quite simple: Keep the customer happy. Keep your job.

Or you could be like the jackass from Comcast – who may not have his by the time the dust from this debacle settles.

Leave a comment

Filed under rant

STFU! And other useful tips to help you keep your sanity.

Keep Calm and STFU

I got a call the other day from a friend looking to vent.

Apparently, he’d been working on a project for a hot minute, which had gone through an extensive planning and discovery cycle, multiple design iterations and painful concessions on both sides.

Although there was a consensus on the approach and planned deliverable, it was not his recommendation, as the proposed final solution fell short of the work he knew his company was capable of, and well below the client’s original expectation for the project.

During discovery, he painstakingly outlined all the options with his client, detailing the pros and cons of each approach, including costs, timing, and end-user experience.

He believed that his company was setting itself up to develop a substandard product, which the client would not be happy with and his company would end up having to re-do at the 11th hour to satisfy them.

Despite his best efforts, no one would listen.

Heading into development, he repeatedly expressed his mis-givings about the selected approach, warning all who would listen that it fell short of the standards typically applied to projects of this type and other products in the market.

Again, no one would listen.

Today, the client saw the project – and hated it.

Calls were made and he was back at square one – and bitching vociferously – to me.

What, pray tell, did I tell my friend when he was done ranting?

STFU.

That’s right.

I told him to shut the f*ck up.

Compassion is not my strong suit.

But bear with me.

You see, I’ve been here before.

No. Not ranting to a colleague about my job.

I am the consummate professional and handle all my shit with aplomb.

But I’ve seen many a colleague get off a call or emerge from a meeting flustered and frustrated.

Fussin’ and cussin and clearly out of sorts.

The source of their frustration was often valid: they had suggested a course of action – that was shot down – only to later find themselves in the unenviable position of cleaning up a mess that the failure to adhere to their recommended course of action has caused.

How often does it happen?

Enough to be a post on my lil’ blog, that’s how often!

But I digress.

As a consultant, project manager, aide or assistant, you’re often in a position where you possess superior information to the people you’re called upon to support.

While you may be the ‘low man on the totem pole’ you usually have access to information that makes your’s an informed perspective.

Worthy of a fair degree of weight, deference or consideration.

But because you’re not the HNIC, your opinion holds little weight when it comes down to decision-making time.

And despite the fact that you know what the fuck you’re talking about, you lack sufficient authority to force the right course of action on the parties or powers that be.

And therein lies the problem.

Time and time again, you find yourself on the wrong end of a fiasco – not of your doing – but which you have to resolve post haste.

So what to do?

Here are four fool-proof ways to help you manage problems (before they start) and be more effective at getting shit done.

1. Keep calm.

One surefire way of making a bad situation worse, is panicking.

So, as a matter of course, I never do.

When I was pledging my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., we had to memorize the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling.

When shit got rough, we’d recite the poem and it brought the most tremendous sense of calm.

There was one line that resonated deeply with me, and is apropos for our little lesson today:

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing their’s and blaming it on you.”

There is no greater skill, when facing adversity, than the ability to remain calm.

This is especially true if you’re the fall guy in a position of authority, with other people looking to you for answers.

2. STFU and stop complaining.

Sure, you’re frustrated – if only they had listened to you, the shit storm you’re  facing could have been avoided.

But they didn’t.

So fucking what?

Hindsight is 20/20.

Complaining is for babies and bitches and never helped anything.

And once you’re ‘that dude’ – mumbling to yourself about how shit’s always going wrong – you’ll find that your life becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure.

You’re in a jam, and you’ve got to get out of it.

So stop bitchin’ and man up.

And that does not mean bend over and take it with no vaseline, sweet-nothings or money on the dresser when it’s all said and done.

Not at all.

It means that you’ve got to figure out how to be more effective at managing your shit so that you find yourself less frequently on the wrong end of problems.

3. Document everything.

If your shit is starting to feel like Groundhog Day, and you’re reliving an endless loop of Hades, perhaps it makes sense to document what you’re doing so that you can figure your way out.

Rather than rely upon your recollection, maintain documents, email threads, meeting notes – anything that you can refer to in the future and use to show others (read clients, managers, developers) the error of their ways.

When a similar issue rears it’s ugly head in the future, you’ll be prepared with your case studies, post mortems and RCAs to provide empirical support to the positions you take.

More importantly, if anyone ever says “why didn’t you tell us that sooner?” or “why didn’t you give us any alternatives?” you can refer to the email, memo or note, which shows that you did.

4. Always have a Plan B.

If you’re so sure that a particular course of action is going to result in failure, you should have a contingency plan in place.

Preparing for the unexpected is a sign of an insightful individual.

But preparing for the known is just common sense.

If you find yourself confronted with a situation you foresaw, and you’re bitching and moaning – as opposed to implementing your Plan B – you’re a fool who deserves what you’re getting.

To summarize, when a project you’re working on starts to go south:

(i) keep calm – cooler heads always prevail; 

(ii) shut the fuck up – no one wants to hear your bitchin’; 

(iii) document everything – CYA is the order of the day; and

(iv) always have a Plan B – for “Bitch please!”

Class dismissed.

Leave a comment

Filed under opinion, rant, Smack talking

XYZPDQ and other common courtesies people fail to observe.

Ya smelt it ya dealt it.

Ya smelt it ya dealt it.

Lets start off with a simple poll today, shall we?

If you answered ‘Say “excuse me.”‘ you’re not a savage. Stop reading here.

If you answered anything else, read on.

Most likely, if you’ve ever been the offender described above, self-preservation and the avoidance of shame won out over common courtesy.

You allowed others to suffer in silence and confusion, rather than providing them the solace of directing their anger towards your malodorous (and forthright) ass.

But imagine if we lived in a world where no one observed niceties.

Where you were left to fend for yourself.

No “Gesundheit” when you sneezed.

No “Good morning” when you entered a room.

No “May I help you?” when you walked into a store.

No “Excuse me” when someone bumped into you.

Imagine a world of savages.

Has anyone ever said “XYZPDQ” to you?

If so, you were eternally grateful for the intervention, I’m sure.

What’s XYZPDQ?

A response to an oft repeated faux pas by many, that’s what.

It’s the acronym for “examine your zipper pretty damn quick.”

In other words, your fly is down. Zip it up or risk further embarrassment.

To be accurate, it should be EYZPDQ, but it doesn’t quite flow off the tongue.

But that’s besides the point.

The point is that every once in a while, strangers behave in ways completely at odds with our disconnected society.

We’re a society of people who mind their own business and don’t care to intrude on the personal space of others.

Even if it means allowing them to suffer shame in silence.

Think about the last time someone told you you had food in your teeth.

Or that you needed a breath mint.

Or that your shoelace was untied.

Or your toddler was walking into traffic.

Okay, that last one was me. But I had four kids with me at the time and only two eyes.

We’re often surprised when acts of decency are shown to us.

The kindness of others shouldn’t surprise us in the least.

But they do.

Why?

Because we live in a world of selfish bastards. That’s why.

The concept of extending common courtesies, like holding a door, ceding the right of way, excusing ones self after a bodily emission, or a simple “thank you” after a kind act, are pleasantries long dead in today’s society.

Excluding yours truly, of course.

I’m the consummate gentlemen, raised by genteel parents, who understood the importance of being polite.

But the rest of you savages, would more likely cut someone for looking at you the wrong way, than ask “may I help you?”

I’m always struck by the way people respond to my acts of decency.

I recently gave up my seat on the PATH to an obviously pregnant woman.

You would have thought I’d opened up my chest, cut out one of my lungs, and implanted it in her open chest cavity saving her life, the ways cats were staring at your boy.

Seriously? Move on folks, nothing to see here.

It just goes to show you that the common courtesies and simple acts of decency we should take for granted are not that common.

So what’s our takeaway for today?

Don’t pass gas without excusing oneself?

Not quite, but close.

Always be courteous to others.

A simple act of kindness goes a long way.

2 Comments

Filed under opinion, rant

What the f*@# do you mean you don’t have an iPhone?

20130701-183251.jpg

You can file this under rant.

One of the things that boggles my mind, is when someone in the mobile space says that they don’t own an iPhone.

Whoa!

Hold your horses.

Before you start prattling on about the whole Samsung/Apple debate (Winston), know that that’s not where I’m going with this.

Simmer down now.

iPhone is just a placeholder.

The title to this post might have been “What the f*@# do you mean you don’t have an <insert name of mobile device here>?”

But that didn’t quite roll off the tongue.

Feel me?

Honestly, I could care less about your mobile device preference.

Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG, Nokia, Motorola, I could give a rat’s ass what you like.

As long as you own a smart phone capable of approximating the intended feature or functionality you’re trying to vet, we’re cool.

But when you’re building a mobile site, developing an app, using QR codes, or integrating augmented reality…

ANYTHING that requires a proper smart phone to experience…

And don’t own a proper smart phone…

You. Sound. Crazy.

At least to me you do.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve talked to folks about how a feature works or is supposed to work.

And learned – in the midst of that discussion – that they’ve never actually tested the issue being discussed on a device.

Or, worse yet, that they don’t even own the friggin’ device to test on.

I mean really?

How do you form your lips to critique something you’ve never tested?

Why are we even having this discussion?

Trying to describe a function or feature to someone who doesn’t have the device in question is like trying to describe color to a blind person.

No. It’s actually worse.

Especially if that person is making decisions in the absence of valid information.

Sure, wireframes, mock ups and emulators can help you imagine what the finished product will be like.

And they’re great for what they’re for – modeling.

But there is nothing like experiencing a thing on the platform for which it was intended.

And there’s nothing more valuable than getting feedback from an actual user.

Now, truth be told, I used to be one of the people of whom I speak.

Back in the day, I blacked out on Android users, but never owned an Android device.

My opinions of Android’s inadequacies were wholly based on conjecture not fact.

I have since seen the error of my ways, copped a Samsung GS3 and tested countless other Android devices.

So the disdain I now feel for Android devices, is steeped in fact.

But I digress.

My point is, don’t be like the old ignorant Stephen, casting stones in a glass house.

Be like the new Stephen, who opens the window to cast his stones carefully and with precision.

Now class, what have we learned today?

1. Stephen has a low tolerance for BS.

2. If you’re developing for mobile, you’ve got to have a mobile device.

I’m done.

Rant over.

3 Comments

Filed under iPhone, mobile, opinion, rant, technology, Uncategorized

“Hey Facebook, does this shirt make me look fat?”

Does this shirt make me look fat?

Hey Facebook, does this shirt make me look fat?

Note: You can file this under “rant.”

Do you know what I absolutely hate?

People who live their every breathing minute on Facebook.

It’s one of my biggest pet peeves.

You know who I’m talking about.

Troll your feed and you’ll see them.

They’re the ones with the frequent status updates.

Every Frappuccino consumed.

Every traffic jam.

Every stubbed toe.

Every <insert other inane activity you could give  a shit about here>.

And the pictures.

Loads of pictures.

They post every vacation ever taken, airplane wing, cocktail umbrella, toe shots and all.

Every shot of their kid from ultrasound to graduation.

Every shoe, seashell, snowfall.

Riddle me this Joker: why do people post multiple head shots of themselves?

Have they forgotten how they look?

Do they fear that without that same-angled-plastered-smile-arm-length-self-portrait shot, we won’t remember them?

Maybe it’s just vanity.

I mean, Facebook is a big ego-stroke.

It was designed to give its users a platform to share.

But damn!

Zuckerberg didn’t necessarily want you to reveal the most minute and insignificant detail about yourself and your every waking hour.

I mean, do we really need to know that your STD test came back negative (or positive)?

Or that your momma had her bunions removed?

And it’s not Dear Abbey.

“Hey FB fam, I just shat. Should I wipe front to back or back to front?”

“Facebook, if he’s sleeping with her, but tells me he loves me, should I stay with him?”

“I’ve got a toothache, Facebook. Should I take something or tough it out?”

Stop asking for advice.

Don’t you realize that your proclamation that you “don’t need a man!” only serves to alert the world that you are (once again) alone?

And – in point of fact – actually in need of a man?

All I’m saying is that there is such a thing as over sharing.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

Yes. I live in a glass house.

Right now it’s full of shattered panes as I toss rocks at the rest of you.

I know I’m guilty of the occasional over-share or posting of frivolous bullshit.

Once I even posted a picture of myself on the throne.

Which I’ve tastefully and artistically recreated above for my loyal readers.

But I digress.

Seriously, take these small bits of advice.

Unless you’re an exhibitionist or shameless fame seeker, keep your Facebook posting to a dull murmur.

If you’ve added your mug to your Facebook album, wait at least a month before posting another. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

The multiple shots of yourself in the car, in the ladies bathroom at your job, sitting at the bar in TGIF – is overkill. Be selective.

If you’re mad at someone, tell them – privately.  Fighting on Facebook  is just…immature.

Finally, every once in a while, post about how you’re going to be taking a break from Facebook.

Everyone loooovves getting that post.

3 Comments

Filed under rant, Smack talking, social media

I love Netflix. Now if they only streamed the movies I wanted to see.

No Fios

I’ve been a cable subscriber for years.

Even though cable sucked, they were the only game in town.

Then came Blockbuster.

Like cable, they had a super selection of movies, which you could watch when you wanted.

But their expensive rental and draconian late fees, made them a not-oft-used luxury.

And it was inconvenient.

Unlike cable, if you wanted a movie, you had to get into your car.

Drive to your local Blockbuster.

And hope that the movie you wanted was in stock.

Netflix_logo

When Netflix arrived on the scene, they gave Blockbuster a run.

As long as you were willing to deal the whole snail mail thing.

And didn’t have a problem waiting until your movie was returned before you could get a new one.

Netflix wasn’t totally intolerable.

And they were dumb cheap.

But they weren’t really an alternative to cable.

You couldn’t just plop onto your couch, point your remote and wham – instant gratification.

But that was yesterday.

Netflix realized that the landscape for movie rentals was going the way of the dinosaur.

And they adapted.

Added streaming to their offering.

Changed to a subscription model.

And watched as Blockbuster folded, under the unbearable weight of it’s brick-and-mortar infrastructure.

Like cable, Netflix offers streaming television programs and movies.

Like cable, Netflix allows you to stream to your television, mobile and tablet devices.

But unlike cable, Netflix is DUMB CHEAP!

And you can stream your movies anywhere – not just in your crib.

I pay like $200 a month for my Verizon Fios.

To be fair, it’s a bundle: internet, phone and tv.

If I just had Fios TV, I’d be paying like $90 a month.

I pay $7.99 a month for Netflix.

$7.99!

If I wanted to add the ability to receive multiple DVD’s at home, it would be another $4.

So for like $12 I could get my movie on.

There is, however, one serious drawback to Netflix…

Most of the good movies are on DVD.

No seriously.

Sure, every once in a while, a movie you want to see is available for streaming.

But for the most part, the really good stuff isn’t available.

Trust me.

I’ve been down this road before.

Since wifey is a night owl, she’s constantly trolling the channels to find something to watch.

Cable routinely fails to deliver.

So Netflix has become the good old go-to.

And while there are literally hundreds of thousands of movie titles to chose from…

The movies we want are never the ones available to stream!

Netflix get your shit together!

I’m just bitchin’.

Cause there’s nothing on tv.

And the movie I want on Netflix is only on DVD.

Which means I can’t watch it right now.

And I’m a big baby.

First world problems.

Leave a comment

Filed under rant, Smack talking

Spin class sucks (and forty five reasons why I hate Rodney Cummins)

Violence must be my theme this week.

While I’ve only been in one real fight in my life – with Darrell Cabbel when I was sixteen – I’ve had to suppress these urges.

I kicked his ass.

But that’s another story for another time.

Right now, we’re talking about why I’m plotting on taking out one of my colleagues.

Several months ago, when I started working at Usablenet, one of my team members, Rodney Cummins and I, started going to the gym down the block from the office.

Two or three times a week, we made it our business to get money.

For my urban vernacular challenged, get money = work out vigorously.

And get money we did.

Religiously, each week we’d get money.

We got so much money together, that our co-workers nicknamed us Chukummins.

Chukumba + Cummins.

I know, they’re juvenile.

Anywho…

The Red Barron, another one of our colleagues invited Rodney to spin class, also at the gym, and he went.

The Red Barron = a red-headed Irishman.

I mocked them mercilessly for going to an obviously sad excuse for money getting.

He came back from that class, bitching and moaning about how hard it was.

But remarking about what a great workout he got that day.

Spin class?

Hard?

Great workout?

The Red Barron?

I found the whole thing ludicrous.

The next time we went to get money, I had Rodney take me to the spin class.

So I could get my spin on.

And debunk the myth that spin class was in any way comparable to the money we were getting on the man side of the gym.

That day, there was no class being offered, but I decided to just jump on a bike and see what it was like.

I had Rodney play instructor and simulate a few minutes of the class.

He ran through a short warm-up of pedaling with slight resistance, before ratcheting it up.

“Pedal seated for a four count.”

“3-2-1.”

“Now up for a four count.”

“3-2-1.”

“Back down for a four count.”

“3-2-1.”

“And up again for a four count.”

“3-2-1.”

This is spin?

This ain’t shit!

Spin is for sissies, I thought.

Until he said, “now hold it for another four count.”

By this point, I was quite used to the simple rhythm we had going.

And I was totally ready for my “now sit 3-2-1.”

I needed to sit.

But when he told me I had that four count to go, I felt the burn in my thighs.

I started to sweat.

Mind you, we had been spinning for less than a minute.

My mind raced frantically.

WTF Rodney!

Hold it for another four count.

Really?

Right then, I decided that spin was the devil and promptly dismounted from the bike.

Nearly pitching myself over the handle bars in the process.

Spin bikes don’t coast and have no brakes.

The only way to stop is by gradually decreasing your rate of pedaling.

No one told me.

So not only were my thighs burning, but I nearly died too.

Curses flowed from my mouth like I was possessed by Beezlebub.

I cursed him like he stole from me.

Like he violated my mother.

Like the soulless bastard he was.

Eventually, as feeling returned to my thighs, and the burning subsided, I felt less hatred towards him.

And as time passed, so did my memory of that unfortunate 60 seconds of spin.

Until today, that is.

You see, for months, he and the Red Barron have been attending spin.

The running joke is the invitation they extend to me each time they go.

Knowing I’ll decline.

Rodney is cursed afresh with each invitation.

But today, another one of my coworkers was going with them.

And – against my better judgment – I was compelled to attend.

Pride is a motherfucker!

Despite the single digit temperatures in NY today, I was sweating on the (not long enough) walk from our office down the block to the gym.

Fear gripped me as I entered the spin class and took my assigned bike.

No. 20 mocked me as I sat upon it, strapping my feet into its toe harnesses.

As the class started, my hatred of Rodney renewed.

The whole time, mind you, he was clapping and uttering ‘motivational’ catch-phrases at me.

If I had a machete handy, a headless torso would have been pedaling astride me, instead of this bloody happy fool.

But no machete was handy.

All I had was Rihanna to get me through.

And my unwavering desire to save face in front of my colleagues.

So I pedaled.

Thighs burning.

Sweating like a slave.

Angry.

Cursing Rodney with each new hill – or sprint – or eight count.

45 minutes later (and only having almost pitched myself over the handle bars of my bike twice) I emerged.

Ass sore.

Broken, but unbowed.

I will never attend spin class again.

And if they ever find the headless torso of a Black man in gym clothes near the New York Health & Racquetball club…

4 Comments

Filed under rant, Smack talking

The trouble with Gerry (not his real name) the Petty Tyrant (aka Karma is a bitch!)

No petty tyrants

I am so mad I can’t sleep.

I’m literally writing this post at 2:34 am Thursday morning.

To be honest, I’m probably more disappointed than I am mad.

But I’m mad.

Why? You ask?

Because the world is full of petty tyrants.

And unfortunately, I’ve had a run-in with one that has my stomach in knots.

If you know me, you know that I’m an easy-going person.

I’m pretty unflappable.

I’ve dealt with ’nuff PTs in my day, and come away unscathed.

But this one here…

Indulge me, if you will, and let me spin you a yarn.

I believe in paying it forward, and for the past few years, I’ve been working with several not-for-profits, helping them to build their digital and social media chops.

One not-for-profit (which shall remain unnamed because we still work together in spite of said PT) has been the recipient of a lot of my attention.

The great thing about them is that they serve kids.

Hundreds of thousands of kids.

And like most not-for-profits, they are somewhat behind the times.

A lot of their current programming is steeped in the old school.

So from day one, my objective has been to bring them (kicking and screaming if need be) into the modern age.

At the end of the day, if you’re an organization that serves kids, it behooves you to offer programming that speaks to the increasingly technological world in which these kids live.

To their credit, most of the organization has been willing to change, in order to get with the times.

But not Gerry (not his real name).

Who’s Gerry?

That’s the petty tyrant.

Just so we’re clear, petty tyrant (an expression coined by Carlos Castaneda), refers to individuals who simply live to frustrate, exasperate and annoy others to distraction.

They’re two-faced backbiters and gossips.

Your modern day hater.

Now Gerry (not his real name) is new to the mix at this not-for-profit.

Before dealing with him, we had run several programs with the kids.

Based on feedback we’d received from kids in our previous programs, we put together a new program that the kids (in our initial session) really responded to.

But somehow, between this first session (held last Thursday) and the second (which would have been held today), Gerry (not his real name) put the kibosh on the entire program.

Just like that, a program for which numerous individuals invested countless hours to bring to life, has been deaded.

Over some straight BS.

Mind you, Gerry (not his real name) has been trying to throw salt in the game for a hot minute.

My strategy for Gerry (not his real name) has been pretty consistent.

I deal him with kid gloves.

He has a fiefdom, which he guards jealously.

Any threat to his authority is dealt with by excising it from his fief.

Prior to dealing with Gerry (not his real name) I got the 411.

I was regaled with tales of his treachery.

Apparently there were a host of individuals, no longer working for said unnamed not-for-profit, who owe their untimely departures to Gerry (not his real name).

In fact, Gerry (not his real name) is currently engaged in smear campaign against a new target, another one of his colleagues.

But that’s another story for another time.

Since I don’t work for the not-for-profit, I took the intel about Gerry (not his real name) under advisement.

And since Gerry (not his real name) wasn’t particularly discreet about his scandalous behavior, I figured it wouldn’t be long before he was exposed for the wretched snake he was.

You’re only going to be able to get away with talking shit about folks in your organization before there’s a target on your back.

Karma is a bitch!

Anywho, Gerry (not his real name) has apparently trained his sights on our program.

And now the 13 kids signed up for it are going to be extremely disappointed when they find out that its been scrapped.

That’s really what has me up in the wee hours of the morning venting to y’all.

I could give a fuck about this Gerry (not his real name) fella.

We all have to deal with petty tyrants in life.

It’s the fact that he’s taking away something very valuable from these kids that has me all up (literally) in arms.

Our program teaches real world digital skills, an area in which this not-for-profit is woefully deficient.

Our instructors – Ivy Leaguers, computer geniuses, music and entertainment industry veterans who work (and have worked) with big dawgs: think Kanye West, Cee Lo Green, Jay Z, Beyonce, Mos Def, Common, and the list goes on – were essentially giving their services away, to make this program happen for these kids.

And Gerry (not his real name) is throwing away an opportunity for these kids to work with people and projects of this caliber.

Why?

Why indeed.

To hear Gerry (not his real name) tell it, the logistics behind our running the program were proving too difficult to manage.

Bullshit.

But who knows why petty tyrants act the way they do?

All I know is that I’m going to try to get my program back.

For the kids.

Fuck Gerry (not his real name).

His treachery is (eventually) going to catch up to him.

Like I said, karma is a bitch!

Leave a comment

Filed under rant

iPhone 5 + AT&T + Nigeria = FAIL.

Never the twain shall meet.

I just got back from burying my father in Nigeria and I’m thoroughly disgusted with both my iPhone 5 and AT&T.

You see, I was originally going to buy a burner for the trip.

A throwaway phone that I’d cop at the airport in Nigeria, load up with minutes and give to one of my relatives on my way out of the country.

Simple.

But noooo…I had to get all fancy.

I remembered that the iPhone was a GSM, which meant I could use it abroad.

I had used my iPhone 4 in Cannes, France with great success.

I simply had to switch up my international plan, set up a global data plan and I’d be set.

I didn’t even have to call AT&T to make the switch because I could do it all within the AT&T app.

So as I taxied on the runway at Newark airport, I set up my joint and felt secure that I had made the right choice.

When I got to Frankfurt, where I had a brief layover, I was rocking.

I was making calls, receiving emails and texting like a champ.

I was imbued, however, with a false sense of security.

Because when I arrived in Nigeria, nothing worked.

I couldn’t make calls.

I couldn’t send or receive texts.

I couldn’t surf the internet.

Nothing.

Effing.

Worked.

Cellular data on – nuthin.

Cellular data off – nada.

Wifi on – bupkis.

Wifi off – nyet.

Every once in a while, I would get an errant text message.

Frequently, my ‘No Service” would become “AIRTEL” or “Glo Ng”.

But my hopes of cellular connectivity were quickly dashed as calls routinely failed.

And then (somehow) I got a text message that almost caused me to lop off my own head.

Due to high international data usage your data service was suspended, including in USA.

WTF!?

Enraged, I immediately called the toll free number listed in the text.

Remarkably, the call went through.

Me (icily): “Yeah…I just got a text message saying that my data service was suspended because I was over my limit. But I haven’t been able to use my phone since I landed in Nigeria.”

AT&T: “It appears that you’ve used 51.6 Mb on your data plan.”

Me (seething): “When? I haven’t been able to use my phone since I got here!”

AT&T: “Well that’s because you’re not set up for international use.”

Me (on the verge of losing my marbles): “But I did…I used the app…”

I had to stop myself.

Ol’ girl was about to have her ass handed to her.

Clearly, whatever I had done (for which I received several email confirmations), hadn’t taken.

And rather than harp on what I had already done (to ensure that I wasn’t where I was right now), I decided to work with miss thing to get my shit straight.

I was on with an operator, and she was helping to ensure that my account was properly configured for international use.

After confirming my requested upgrades, we parted, confident that I could get my dial on.

First call – the wifey. Let her know I’m set.

Dialing.

Dial assist message.

Call failed.

CALL FAILED?!!!!

It took every sinew in my body to suppress the urge to fling my precious iPhone across the room and test the efficacy of my Otter case.

To add insult to injury, my younger brother, who still rocks an iPhone 4 (with AT&T) had no problems whatsoever.

The entire time we were there, he was chilling on his joint.

Texting folks in and out of Nigeria.

Calling.

Posting pictures to Facebook.

Mind you, he reminded me that I could simply have AT&T switch up my stuff so that my phone would work outside of the US.

But clearly something was lost in translation between the 4 and the 5.

Because both my other brother, The Doc, and I have the iPhone 5.

And we were both screwed.

Now, I don’t know how many of we iPhone 5 owners travel internationally.

Or how many have experienced something similar.

But I can’t accept that stepping up to the 5 means stepping down in performance and utility.

And I’m certainly not checking for spending more money to do so either.

So AT&T I’m fully expecting a credit of $5.99 for the so-called ‘world traveler’ international calling, $30 for the global messaging, and $60 for the global data – that I never got to effing use.

And if you do plan on taking a jaunt to the continent – get yourself a burner.

12 Comments

Filed under iPhone, mobile, opinion, rant