LCD Monitors? NewEgg > BestBuy

28 11 2008

Went to the local BestBuy store by Rosedale Mall to grab a few items including an Acer 19″ LCD – X191 but by the time we got there at 6am, it was long gone. It was long gone after the 5th nerd joined the line at 6pm the previous day. But as luck would have it, there was an Acer 19″ LCD for $169 and one next to it for $179. The only problem was, the monitor-in-box was located between the two price tags.

Took the monitor to a BBuy clerk to run a price check and after he matched the model and SKU #, he advised that we were looking at the more expensive $179 model (Acer X193Wb) which retailed at $239. Fair enough. Along the way to the cashier, I picked up the latest Guns N’ Roses album – Chinese Democracy – on sale a few bucks less ($11.99), only found at BestBuys nationwide, and after 15 years of waiting. All was fine until the cashier lady punched in the items.

I immediately noticed the amount on the POS (Point of Sale) machine screen for the X193Wb was displaying $239. TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY BUCKS??? I had the cashier run a price check through an extremely rude sales associate. It seemed like she took forever to return and when she did, she was virtually yelling at me saying that I had the wrong LCD model and the one going for $179 was out of stock.

How could this be? I remember matching the SKU and model # with the BBuy clerk previously on the computer screen personally at the store location to make sure we had the right model and now I was being rudely told to dole out the full retail value for a product on sale? I had had it with that retarded sales associate. Told her I wasn’t going to get ripped off by BestBuy and promptly purchased my CD and left. Point to note is that the cashier lady was very kind and caring in stark contrast.

Went for a coffee break at a Brueggers and checked the prices on my phone. The X193Wb was shown at $179 on numerous Black Friday websites for Best Buy. Then saw that NewEgg had the same monitor for … $99 with the deal expiring on Sunday the 30th. I’ve bought a lot of stuff from them in the past and they’re quick to ship.

We all know what happens next. So if you’re in for a decent LCD monitor for your computer, grab one at NewEgg soon. They’re ending on November 30 but on limited stock.

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Peter Griffin’s Favorite Band Gave The World “The Bird”

23 11 2008

After seeing the Family Guy episode (Season 7 – Episode 2) featuring The Trashmen’s one verse hit “Surfin’ Bird,” I got news from a close friend that the band was actually in town playing on Saturday evening at a dive (The Turf Club) on University and Snelling in St Paul, Minnesota. For those of you who’ve heard of the Surfin Bird song (and who hasn’t?), you might be surprised to find out that the group is actually based here in Minnesota. They were also the original kings of surf music. Before the Beachboys. Before the Beatles. Probably even before you.

15 bucks and a few cover bands and beers later, Tony Andreason (lead guitar), Dan Winslow (guitar), Bob Reed (bass), and Mark Andreason (drums) were rocking it out at a packed house a quarter after midnight. Time meant nothing to these “geriatric rockers” as they let loose a barrage of 50s-60s surf rock to a frantic wild crowd, of which half appeared to be well over 40 years young. Songs such as Surfin Bird, King of the Surf, Gloria, I Fought the Law, and It’s So Easy were instantly recognizable which brings me to the big question as to why in all these years of my existence did I not know who sang them until recently. Maybe it’s because The Trashmen don’t have a website?

Mini-mosh pits formed and disappeared in seconds possibly due to the age of some of the patrons. My only disappointment with the event was that there were no body surfers present. Disappointment with myself – not buying memorabilia (cd/tshirts) because the line was too long.

Some classic covers were splayed out much to the happiness of the retro-loving crowd. At the very end after we heard the gurgling sounds of a wet surfin’ bird bailing out into the waters, masked members of the Neanderthals jumped on stage with their drums and clubs (along with the Trashmen) pumping the crowd to a exhilarating finale with more tunes from that era. Best of all, I got a chance to shake Mark Andreason’s hands after the gig. One cool cat.

And so in case you still don’t know THE BIRD, you might want to check out a clip from the Surfin Bird episode of Seth McFarlane’s Family Guy show below.

PS: They’re playing in GreenBay (Wisconsin – booooo) Sunday tomorrow which would be technically today since it’s almost 5am right now and I need to catch some sleep. G’nite!





Republican National Conference in St Paul, Minnesota

3 09 2008

The corrupt politicians and their fake-smiling cronies are in town across the river in St Paul, Minnesota. So are a nasty bunch of anarchists and the usual assortment of hippie peace lovers. On tv, Rudy Guiliani appeared and started making small talk getting the crowd hyped up averaging around 3-5 words per sentence. The crowd cheered. More 3-5 word simple sentences with “9-11” thrown in randomly. The crowd cheered again.  The pattern continued and Rudy said “USA” with a swing to get the crowd going “USA USA USA” like sheep following the movement of a mindless herd. Wish there was someone out there asking Rudy about how he refused to help out the FDNY and NYPD who were volunteering out there during 9-11 and now suffering from various respiratory diseases.

We’re all getting used to Rudy’s stories of how he fought the terrorists during 9-11 but then he came out making fun of Barack Obama’s efforts to the streets of Chicago. Seriously. Rudy? You must be going senile. And as expected, he went on to praise McCain through out the years but failed to bring out 2000 when almost every Republican out there painted him as an unpatriotic American. Didn’t matter. The crowd cheered. Something about the honorable Joe Biden (Democratic vice-presidential nominee) flip-flopping. The crowd cheered around his feet.

Then the newly nominated VP to John “I was shot down in Vietnam” McCain showed up. Sarah Palin began the speech with family values and growing up in a small town in Alaska with her “Eskimo” husband who strangely enough looked white and very un-Eskimo. I bet he was discriminated quite a bit because he was an “Eskimo.” Oh puhleez. Don’t yell out saying Obama’s pulling the race card when you’re doing it yourself, only in your case, it doesn’t work at all.

Along the way, she talked about her activities in the PTA and being a mayor of a town of a few thousand. And do note that she said it was a “tough” job unlike serving on the streets of South Chicago. If that’s tough, I’d like to know what her understanding of the role of the VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA means to her. Then something about how she liked to drive in her car. WTF does this have anything to do with being qualified for the position? Then some lies about tax breaks and how Obama would raise taxes. Lies. More lies. Some history on her efforts which she lied about. If she was a murderer, the crowd could care less because this is the crowd that refuses to look at facts. The crowd cheered.

Like “9-11 Rudy”, wife of Eskimo and the Governor of the populous State of Alaska, Sarah Palin talked about all the torture” that John McCain had to endure in Vietnam. Only, I got 2 problems with that:

  1. Vietnam vets do not like to talk about what they did and saw there. They’re not willing to relive those memories. So why is Palin and Rudy going on and on about John McCain being a POW there?
  2. John McCain was NOT tortured. According to the US Government and our prez whom some call “Dubya” or “the original pothead”, worse acts were carried out to the fine residents of Guantanomo Bay and it was deemed normal treatment.

About John McCain, and please I do not have anything against someone who actually went there along with the likes of Democrat John Kerry (who was bashed by Repuglicans for not being a true veteran), although I respect his service, getting shot down isn’t something to be proud of. He is still an American hero but I severely doubt he is the right person for the job. And why are the Repuglicans now embracing him when they trampled down on him back in 2000?

Since she had nothing else to say about her experience and had exhausted her vocabulary of emotional keywords, she went on with some negative jabs on Obama. The crowd cheered. Sarah Palin mocking Barack Obama? Someone who’s had it easy all her life making fun of a social worker? Very classy indeed. Literally.

Republican speeches are always very interesting because of their over-use of keywords and suggestive terms and the blatant lies tossed callously in sentences filled with emotional moments. You can be Emperor Palpitine or Darth Vader and still come out after the speech looking like good ol’ Ben Kenobi. In short, all words and no substance. But be warned. If you’re not careful, you can get swept in with their lies just like how Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader. We know Palpatine and Darth Vader are “evil” because they already look like villains and can’t afford the luxury to smile and make you comfortable unlike the Repuglicans you see on tv.

The following are some of the most popular keywords in a typical Republican speech: God, good, evil, victory, America, Americans, bless, values, faith, terrorist, protection, death tax. Nauseatingly childlike and corny but certainly very definitive and divisive words for the simple-minded. You’re either with us, or against us. Sounds familiar? You know what, the American public has had enough and can see through their lies and know that they’re going to get 4 more years of the same terrible 8 years we’ve gone through. If you want to take advantage of unsuspecting people, go do that elsewhere. My word of advice to republicans is to “Pack up your lies in your suitcases and get out of our country!”





It’s been a while…

3 08 2008

since I last posted on my blog. Been busy with work related stuff and the neverending summer activities that keep piling up. On a somber note, we also just had our 1st anniversary of the 35W bridge collapse and hope the government decides to set aside a more reasonable budget for infrastructure maintenance. I’m looking at you, lazy Pawlenty!

Also the commute to and from work has worsened. The simple 10-15 minute drive on normal conditions take me anywhere from 35 minutes to 2 hours. Sometimes Dick Cheney wants to hang out with his pals in Minneapolis so they stop the frigging traffic but usually, it’s the bums who can’t read and end up driving on the HOV lanes.

So the single drivers get on the far left lane just cuz there’s not much traffic on it completely oblivious to the “BUS / CARPOOL LANE ONLY” signs only to merge into our lanes later as the carpool lane merges with us. I’ve been known to only give room to cars with more than 1 occupant when they merge but it pisses me no end that there are people who’d let those bastards go through. Line-cutting is alright but not when you’re left stuck in a bumper to bumper traffic for long periods because some cool cats on the left lane can’t read.

The other day was driving on I-394 as usual and then I cop lights flashing in the rear view. A cop gets on the carpool lane and then for a moment I believed that someone was going to enforce it. No such luck. An accident up ahead. Where’s karma when you need it?





The all new 2009 Mazda6 hiding at dealer lots?

17 06 2008

Despite not being released out for sale, you might be lucky enough to spot the newly redesigned 2009 Mazda6 plying on the roads out to nearby dealerships. Just last Friday, saw one of those beauties heading out west (NW) on MN-55 (aka Olson Memorial Hwy) in Minneapolis while on my way to work at like 8:15AM. The car took a left (west) on CR-6 possibly to take a left on Xenium Ln and get back on 394W where 2 Mazda dealerships lie close.

It just stood out very clear from the Camrys, Accords, and Passats with the swooping lines and the heavily accentuated wheel arcs jutting out in a muscular sporty way. I thought it was strange body-kit on an RX-8 from the rear until I got closer and realized it was a 4-door 6. The headlights were unmistakable and so was the overall design. In terms of looks alone, this is a must-have. Sorry Accord. You’re upscale but if the girlfriend thinks you’re “boring” everything I point you out enthusiastically, you have no chance.

Obviously, the plan is that the dealers get peeks at the new Mazda6’s in person to get the extra push to sell off all of their remaining rather plain looking current generation 6. No wonder you see Mazda putting them on the ads on tv every day.

Update: Pictures of the new and unreleased Mazda 6 out in the open, courtesy of Autoblog.





Flight of the Conchords @ the Orpheum Today

13 05 2008

The singers of songs such as “The Humans are Dead” are making a trip out to Minnesota TODAY. They will be performing live at The Orpheum Theater @ 8pm tonight and unfortunately, yours truly does not have a ticket. Apparently they’ve been sold out for a while but I gave it a shot on Ticketmaster and came up empty. Their next stop is Chicago (Chicago Theater) and then they’re headed out west to Denver, Colorado. Here’s a quick listing of their tour. Anyone going to see FOTC tonight?





St Paul Snow Plowing and Ticketing Rules are a SCAM

11 01 2008

First of all, on Wednesday night around 9:30pm, Kaci’s car got ticketed due to the “Snow Emergency” that was in effect while she had her Tiburon parked out on the streets. We’d just gone out to eat at around 8:30 and got back at 9:45 to see a plastic packet under the wipers. $45 because the side of the street she was on was a “Night Plowing Route” but we didn’t know it was cuz of the lack of signs. So well she got her ticket and the Night Plow starts at 9PM and goes on till 6AM but the streets weren’t plowed at all. Below is a picture of the street after she moved her car to a WEST-EAST street (Buford Avenue) where I parked my Civic.

If we thought that was injustice, imagine my surprise when I went to move my car at 9:30am the next morning to the spot in front of the house. Kaci had left late in the evening so her car was gone which is fine but my car was missing as well. One side of the street was plowed while the side where my car was parked wasn’t. WTH is going on here? I thought only the streets with the “Night Plow Route” signs were plowed. Buford Avenue (East-to-West street) didn’t have any signs.

As you can see in the above pic, there are treads of my car and it looks like it was dragged since I had my hand-brake on which effectively locks the rear wheels on a front-wheel drive car. Now I couldn’t be sure if my car was towed by the City of St. Paul/Minneapolis or if it was stolen. So logged onto the internet and found this website relating to “snow emergency” procedures. Clicking around told me that Day Plow Routes had no signs and would be in effect from 8am to 5pm. That is stupid. If there are no signs, they should at least have the courtesy of leaving my car behind or the $45 ticket fine on the windshield.

Now like I said, I didn’t know if my car was stolen or if the city had towed it away since my side of the street hadn’t been plowed. Somehow, I found this # 651-603-6895 (for St Paul towing) to dial which was supposed to take me to the office involved with the towing. Dialed it a million times to see if they had my car in the impound lot but nobody’s picking up the phone. A whole hour of dialing and not a single person picking the line and there’s no voice-mail feature either. How annoying. There was another # on the website 651-603-8695 which would lead me to a “This number is no longer in service” message.

Finally fed-up, I logged onto the official City of St Paul main website and called their Customer Service # 6510603-8989. A lady answered the phone and diverted me to this # 651-487-4700 saying that was the direct line. I told her that the City of St Paul needed to hire someone part-time to answer the phone because it’s driving a lot of people to frustration to which she told me to apply online. Then she thanked me and told me she was transferring me to the # she advised me because she couldn’t help any further on the matter. Transferred but no pick-up. Called up the # 651-487-4700 but no answer to the line again. Called the 603-6895 number multiple times and switching between the 487-4700 line every few attempts.

Finally, a rather rude lady answered the phone. I asked to confirm if my car was in the lot and she said she didn’t have that ability. Then I asked her what was required to get back my car if in the event that it wasn’t stolen and the city had indeed impounded it. Her requirements included a valid driver’s license, valid auto insurance, and the vehicle title. She said there would be a $45 charge for the ticket, $191 for towing, and $5 for using a check or debit card if payment wasn’t made in cash. The ticket was an automatic if your car got towed I guess. I told her that my insurance card had me printed as the owner and that was why I probably wouldn’t need my car title to which she responded saying that if I had recently sold my car, the insurance card would still say I was the owner. There was no way to verify if I was the owner.

Now I was calm and polite the whole time as I was talking to her while she was yapping angrily away at me as though I was the devil himself. I argued that my title was at home an hour and a half up north and I couldn’t possibly get there without my car. She told me that I could buy a duplicate title from the DMV which would set me back around $15 or $35. I asked her if I could get it for free since it’s only something that shows I’m the owner and she said I HAD TO BUY the duplicate title. So very unhelpful. I took down the address information for the nearest DMV in St Paul and the impound lot.

Then I then told her the same thing that I told the lady at the CSR line for the city – they needed a part-time person to pick up the phone on the other line to which she told me to look for jobs on the website if I was looking for a job. I told her there were no job postings for it so she should add it herself. She told me she would add it only if she was told to do it by her supervisors and if she were me, she would purchase the title from the DMV to get back the car. Before she hung up abruptly, she didn’t even have the professionalism to say this magical accepted phrase – “Have a great day!” What a bitch! I was now seriously pissed-off.

The girlfriend came to the rescue. Drove me to the DMV first to purchase my title. On the way, I called the good folks out at the DMV (651-292-9791) located above Sears in St Paul near the Capital building and a very pleasant speaking lady in sharp contrast to the person behind the line told me that I could have it printed for free as long as it’s just a document showing I was the owner. Got there and waited for 30 minutes. Called the line again and the same lady informed that since I was only there for a print-out, I could go to the far-right corner and pick it up. And I picked it up. Had her stamp it just to make it official. 😀 Hope she gets a raise.

We drove off to find a WellsFargo ATM and found one at a gas station. My stupid Gold debit card wasn’t working. Thankfully, Kaci’s WellsFargo card worked and I withdrew $200 and already had $50 in my wallet in cash so that was good. Off to the impound lot.

Then drove over to “1129 Cathlin St, St. Paul, MN” to pick up the car. Dang. A long line already outside the small building and the temperature was in the teens and light snow flakes making their way down. Everybody was cold and miserable. Good thing Nima was there to keep me company along with fleeting broken conversations of the grumbling nature. As we were waiting, the line kept getting longer and longer. Around 500 people in the compound as more and more tow-trucks came in with more cars hauled in. A news crew came over but the security people hustled them outside. They kept filming from outside the compound. Everybody and myself including appeared disgruntled. Bad day to be outside waiting to pay $240 and pick up our car. It’s almost like the line to go purchase a Nintendo Wii. After about nearly 2 hours outside, finally got inside the building. Another long line there with people waiting to pay their $240.

Get this now. Inside, a security officer was announcing saying that if no driver’s license, you needed a title to the car. If you did have a driver’s license with insurance, you won’t need the title. There were large signs also saying the same thing. That stupid rude lady on the phone either lied to me or doesn’t know what the frak she was talking about.

Finally, my turn after nearly 3 hours. Here’s the breakdown of the towing charges contrary to what the news incorrectly reported as $122 in total fines a few weeks before this incident.

1. Tow Charge: $123.07 (Average towing charges should range from $25-75. Those liars.)
2. Storage Charge: $0.00 (Thank God I went there on the first day)
3. Admin Charge: $55.00 (To pay all the grumpy employees.)
4. Sales Tax: $12.46 (WTF man. Sales Tax for paying your stupid fines?)
5. Service Charge: $0.00 (Now what the heck could this be? Doing an Oil Change?)
6. Total Charges: $190.53

Then they slapped the $45 ticket onto it pushing it up to $235.53 for towing my car. Around me, clerks were squabbling about pennies with some of the poorer people who had their cars towed. Very sad picture.

Below is a picture of my car after I brought it back. It looked so pretty and I was so glad to be able to see it again that I had to take a picture. So now here it is for all to see while at the same time, it’s increasing my desire to one day look into the eyes of all the people responsible for my horrible day and see where they’re at someday in the future when I’m making a 6-figure income. Here’s to hoping karma acts as a catalyst in making my dreams come true.

And all this happened the day before I was to leave Minnesota for Florida which added to the high levels of stress I was already experiencing due to Northwest Airlines not having a seat ready for me on all my flights to and from Orlando.

So if ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to call 651-266-PLOW or 651-266-7569 (for QWERTY keypad phone users) to find up to date info on snow emergencies and plowing routes.

If there is one thing I learned from this event, it is that the laws of this nation are out there to protect the interests of those in power. In my case, this poorly thought-out “snow emergency” rule is a constraint only to the poor and lower income citizens who can’t afford to own a garage or secure a private parking lot. So not only are the poor targeted by this snow-emergency law, the rules ensure that if the poor people who had their cars towed are unable to come up with $236 in cash (which should be easy right?), they have to wait outside for a considerable amount of time in the nail-biting cold, and still made to pay an additional $5 penalty for using a bank debit card or a check.

Yea, let’s put them in their place. Let them know that they’re the lower-class citizens and that they deserve to be punished. We should ensure they get stuck in that position by having them lose more money, so we will never have to worry about them making as much money as us. Cuz you know, it would sure suck to have an ordinary person driving a brand new Lexus or BMW and pulling up next to us at a traffic stop. Yea. Let’s strip them of any dignity left in them by taking all their money and humiliating them by making them stand outside in the cold. That should be enough to make them disillusioned enough to never make it big.