8/27/2008

Might I Add That In Addition, There Were Not Enough Prostitutes

This review was recently posted on Travelocity.

Marriott (Manhattan Beach)
Meeting room sucks. To reiterate: sucks
Mason S. from Oakland, CA – Wouldn't stay again
Stayed Jul 2008, 2 days

Major problems here. We reserved a meeting room and requested a networked printer. Printer did not work. Hotel's IT guy was incompetent. We brought our own IT guy over who had to go to Fry's Electronics and buy a router so that we could use the printer. The A/C did not work so we all sweated for three days. We requested it be fixed, a manager made a few calls, and then it came on. For a few hours. We specifically requested that only two of our staff and one hotel security staff have access to the room overnight, as we had expensive equipment that we left in the room (too heavy/complicated to tear down and set up). However, housekeeping was in there overnight and left the door open. Furthermore, when we asked them for the keycard to the room it took NINE HOURS for them to arrive with the keycards. I personally sat in this non-air-conditioned room until 1:15 a.m. waiting for the delivery of a single keycard. People were personally very polite to us, but frankly, that only smooths me over if I have to be moved from one room to another or something minor like that. If you are totally unable to provide what you said you would provide, and literally prevent dozens of people from doing their work on deadline, then you fail. That's the Manhattan Beach Marriott.


Perhaps you think this vaguely named reviewer was a tad bit harsh on the Manhattan Beach Marriott? Their manager certainly did; he tracked down the reviewer and called me on my cell phone to see if there was anything he could do to address my concerns and improve my visit, should I choose to stay at their hotel again in the future. This obviously took a little Googling, because I am pretty sure I did not give them my cell phone number when I checked in.

But while I will give the manager credit for going the extra mile after I posted this review, there is nothing he can do to go back in time and change what happened when I was at his hotel. To be fair, this hotel was the site of a large event (think like a wedding with 500 guests) which was itself the subject of an even larger protest (think 5,000 union activists marching through the hotel lobby). So I can see why their staff would be a little overwhelmed. But still. You pay for a service, you expect to get it.

Besides, that is the polite version of my Travelocity review. I edited it down from the not-so-polite version. Good thing that one never saw print.

8/15/2008

It Also Has A Series Of Tubes

So, I stupidly left my wallet in the car a few weeks back, and it sat there for two days, because I also rode in someone else's car up to Lake Tahoe for the weekend. While the lack of cash, ATM cards, and ID did put a minor crimp in my style, I was able to coast on the understanding of others and pay back my debts Sunday afternoon. However, sitting in a locked car, in Sacramento, in July, for two days, did not do wonders for the plastic in my wallet.

Turns out the credit cards were OK; only my Oakland library card and Mills College student ID card need replacing. They kind of melted into each other, rendering them all warped and shit. Like any other American, I turned to the Internet to figure out how to replace my broken cards, which is where I learned that my student ID is, in fact, more high-tech than I had thought.

The ID is also used as a "key card" to access residence halls, some apartment buildings and the public computer labs in the Lucie Stern and CPM buildings. The card contains computer chips and radio antennae, so it is important to keep it flat, treat it gently and never punch a hole in the ID card.

[Via Mills College Administrative Services.]


First of all, the plural of "antenna" when referring to an aerial or other device used to broadcast or receive radio signals is antennas. To quote from the April 1961 issue of Word Study: "The biological scientist will insist that the creatures have antennae; an electronics technician writes about the antennas of a microwave installation."

More importantly, however, that's totally awesome! I didn't know that this whole time, the tiny plastic card in my wallet had, like, radio antennas on it. Or in it, or something. I could use it to, like, radio for help if I crash-landed in the Mojave Desert. And it has computer chips, too! These could almost undoubtedly be used to decode top-secret Soviet transmissions from behind the Iron Curtain. I'm like James fucking Bond over here.

That got me thinking. What else can my student ID card do?

(There's no sound on these videos. You can watch them at work!)

It Slices, It Dices


No Door Can Keep The ID Out


Just Like In The Movies, Or The Ladies Room At Most Nightclubs


Turns out the card is a little too warped to make those rails as straight as they should be. But still, this little card is far more powerful than I had initially imagined. Now I have to figure out how to unlock the potential of its computer chips. And antennae!

8/10/2008

Plus They Have Gambling, Hookers, And Drugs There

We are all going to hell. But I'm OK with that.

Had a conversation with some friends the other day where it was determined that none of us are going to heaven, and none of us really want to, either. Because let's face it: Heaven is going to be full of dickheads. Pat Robertson, George W. Bush, etc. I might know a couple of actual Christians who aren't that bad, but overall, if you are going to heaven, I generally don't have any interest in hanging out with you.

Fortunately, people have a way of self-selecting whom they hang out with. Let's take a look at how the people on my Facebook friends list describe their "Religious Views." I'll just list them in alphabetical order by friends' last name, since that's how Facebook lists us, but without identifying any individual heathens.

Jewish - Reform
Religion is an invention of the mind and spirit
Jew for Allah
Bokononist
Somewhere in between agnostic & Buddhist
Atheist
zoolatry
Jebus!?!
Militant agnostic
None
Other
Atheist
superstitious semiotics
atheist pagan
atheist
Agnostic
Zoroastrianism
Other/Practical Philosophy
Sarcastic
Evolving
See political views (listed under political views: Whatever you like - I'll take the opposite)
Atheist
few
Why?
God is Buddhist
Like George Michael said, "Cuz I Gotta Have Faith!"
Atheist


Some of us did not list our "religious views," but that typically means we do not have any. So you might as well consider us agnostics or atheists.

That settles it, then. We're all going to hell. See you there -- bring some salsa. I've got chips.