Wednesday, October 29, 2008

South Bay Film Festival Video Flyer (Nov 1st 6:00 pm @ El Camino College)

Top 10 Things Not To Buy New

I was doing my junkin' thang today at my favorite Carson hot spot.

I purchased several plastic blow molded halloween trick-or-treat containers - two ghosts and a skull. I hang them from my tree with some battery operated tea lights, and they glow quite nicely - all three for less than $1.

It came to me that thrift stores always have an abundance of certain items. No matter where I go, there's always tons of these particulars on the shelves. There is such a surplus of these at garage sales, rummage sales and thrifts that I've concluded one should NEVER NEVER NEVER buy them new. Here they are:

10. Serving Trays. How many of these things do you really need, and how many times do you actually use one?

9. Picture Frames. So what if they're not the right color, paint the darn thing, and voila - it looks as good as anything you can pay $20 for new.

8. Wine Glasses. What's the difference between a 65 cent goblet and a $40 one? If you buy the 65 cent one, you can spend $39.35 on a really good bottle of wine.

7. Kid Videos. Yeah, yeah, no one sells new video tapes. But why spend $15 on a Little Mermaid CD - do you really think a 4 year old cares about Hi Def?

6. Glass Vases. If I had a dollar for every vase I've seen at a thrift store, I'd be able to buy real estate in Manhattan.

5. Kid Books. I've found every conceivable popular paperback for young readers and I've never paid more than 50 cents.

4. Candy Dishes. Also known as nut dishes, condiment dishes, pickle dishes. Unless you're 80 years old and put doilies on your sofa you don't use these things, and certainly do NOT need to buy a new one. Or an old one, for that matter.

3. Coffee Mugs. I don't need all my mugs to match. Frankly, when I have guests, it's good for everyone to have a different mug, so everyone knows which is theirs.

2. Christmas decorations. People throw these out by the TRUCKLOADS. You name it - glass balls, ornaments, lights, serving dishes, wreaths, trees, candles, cards, jewelry. You can deck out an entire home for less money than 5 new ornaments.

1. Microwave cookbooks. For every one regular cookbook, there are five of these. I suspect it is because no one actually cooks with a microwave.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pocket Protectors!




My dad wore a pocket protector everyday. They were the kind of item you could buy for 15 cents at the local pre-mega stationery store. I think every aerospace employee (male) had one. In the 1960's they were as ubiquitous as the skinny tie and the short sleeve button down shirt.

By the 1990s they were rare indeed. I did buy one through the Archie McPhee catalog; however, it had a picture of a slug on it. My dad used it anyway.

The last one I found was part of a promotional goodie bag I got at the Gutenburg Festival, probably over 15 years ago. It was quite groovy, with the graphics done by designer Chuck Anderson.

Then nothing. My dad has been repairing his last vinyl protector with tape and staples.

Struck gold today at Office Depot. On clearance, for the whopping price of $0.50, a package of three clear vinyl protectors. I bought six packages. Dad will be pleased.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bonds, bonds, everywhere bonds

Just when I came to grips with paying for a Torrance school bond, come to find out I'll be paying for LAUSD school bonds.

Dammit, grandma!

The Gewgaw, Cross-eyed Kitty with Toothache



Perhaps this was a decorative item for a dentist who liked cats. Or a vet who specialized in cat dentistry. Or a get-well item for someone with an impacted molar.

I don't think you'll see another quite like it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Nice lady at City of Torrance

A very funny and friendly woman with the Public Works department called me this morning to discuss on ongoing trash issue with the neighbors - I think she understood my exasperation, lets hope something's done.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lowe's hits new low



I don't waste time despising retailers who treat customers like crap. I simply don't do business there. Or, I find someway to get even. In recognition of the substandard, crappy service received at the Lowe's Home Improvement Center conveniently located across the street from their competitor Home Depot at the Torrance Crossroads, here's something certain to show up on Google - LOWE'S SUCKS. Better still, LOWE'S BLOWS.

My in-laws purchased a BBQ grill on October 4th. Lowe's has a really REALLY big sign that claims that they assemble things, like said BBQ grill, for no charge. Free. According to the receipt, the assembled grill was ready for pick up on October 7th.

My in-laws returned to Lowe's on the 7th. Said grill was not assembled. They were told to return (this) Saturday, the 11th, to pick up the assembled grill. Because my elderly father-in-law is disabled, the hub and I went to Lowes today, Sunday - clearly one day after they had said the grill would be complete and ready for pick up.

After waiting for about 10 minutes at the customer service counter, a fella from the assembly department (I think) sauntered up and told us there were two assembled grills, but he wasn't sure which was ours. We gave him our receipt in hopes it would help to identify it. He spoke briefly with the customer service person, then sauntered back to wherever the assembly area was - apparently Lowes doesn't allow the help to use the phone line to communicate with other areas of the building, forcing them instead to walk the length of the store to ask questions.

Ten minutes (and one game of iPhoneTetris) later, he returned to say that, in fact, our grill wasn't assembled - actually, it wasn't there at all. However, we were welcome to pick out one of the assembled ones outside the store, although 'they have scratches on them'. At this point, my hub - who is smoldering - all 6'4" of him - accompanied the fella back to the assembly area. I continued my game of Tetris, knowing full well all was not going to end well.

Apparently, the Lowes zone manager told my hub that whomever authorized the 'free' assembly, shouldn't have, and they have a procedure for these things, and it wasn't followed, therefore it was somehow our problem/fault. Maybe my 80 year old father -in-law got the employee in a neck lock and compelled him to flaunt the procedure.

Obviously, it was also our fault no one noticed this on October 7th, either.

He told us to come back sometime next week, although he couldn't say when it would be done - of course my husband said that not only should they assemble it, but they should deliver it to my in-laws, especially after all the inconvenience.

No. Not going to happen.

Stuff like this really annoys my hub - he's a stickler. He trained people in customer service at his previous job, and he takes it very seriously. Needless to say, blaming the customer for an employee error didn't sit well with him. He told (not asked) the zone manager to write his name and store manager's name and number on a piece of paper, which he did, but only begrudgingly. Come to find out, the manager returns calls only on Tuesdays. No kidding.

45 minutes after our initial arrival, we left, empty handed. I wouldn't want to be that guy tomorrow. The Angry Sicilian is going to ruin his day.


Google For Good Measure: Lowes Stinks home improvement store abysmal worst customer service poor quality clueless management

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Toxic Block

Saddest. Blog. In Torrance.

Here's a link to the Breeze story about the neighborhood.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

TUSD Dr. Mannon Y and Z Bond Measures



You can turn down the volume to the playlist at your immediate right.

This link shows some of the damage the new bond measures should address.

Typically, I hate bond measures, but Torrance schools are suffering from neglect not created by TUSD - there are schools in East LA that look better. With the housing market as bad as it is, the construction market isn't going to be all that great either - the school should get value now that contractors need their business.

My son does not attend a TUSD school even though we live in the district, but with that being said, I'm going to vote yes on both of these bond measures.

In the event the bond measures do not pass, TUSD should look at where the votes panned out - areas with a majority of 'no' votes should probably have their schools closed first. Second, areas with no new mass development - the neighbors having to live with increased traffic and congestion should get something for their trouble.

If you think your home values are tanking now, wait 'til they start closing your neighborhood schools.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Gewgaw, The Mutual Aid Society



I really love this postcard in spite of its obvious lack of PC.

It's also got a very sweet message on the back - written in a child's hand, "Dear kiss with love from George...xxx"

Postmarked 1924.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Stick with Baby Kissing, please.

I'm sure everyone has seen the Obama video that hit YouTube - some describe it as cute, some as creepy.

I'm bothered it was made to appear as an inpromptu performance, when in fact it's a regular Hollywood production.

It isn't the first video of this kind.

And, It was just a matter of time before the over the top, hot button nazi parallel showed up.

I prefer the Jerry Video. But the whole thing is just a diversion to keep us from thinking about the financial mess we're in.

Oh, if you're not depressed enough about the current situation, don't watch this.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My presidential choice

Dementia

While I was publishing my blog here, the darn thing mysteriously vanished for about 20 minutes.

I clicked on the bookmark, and nothing came up except the Google home page - which was odd because the address bar read http://www.randommadnessintorrance.com.

(Playing Twilight Zone music...)

With my mouth agape, I must have clicked on my link two dozen times before it occurred to me something might be terribly wrong.

I panicked. It was 2 in the morning.

I'm sure there's nothing more irritating to a help desk guy than some borderline hysterical chick with no technical expertise, and no technical vocabulary to describe her, er, my predicament.

I thought I had registered my site - which I pay for because there is no 'blogspot.com" at the end of my address - at Go Daddy, but I couldn't find any info on the wee scrap of paper I write everything on. All the poor guy could do was assure me that, in fact, the name was registered to me, but beyond that, he couldn't do much. HELLO, you don't have your customer number or password... And to make matters more embarrassing, the original blog showed up while I was speaking with him.

Even though he was polite and patient, I could sense he thought I was just another idiot who hadn't written down her information, and please don't call again unless you pull your head of your rear, thank you very much, have a nice rest-of-the-week.

After a few cleansing breaths, I searched through my old emails, and discovered that I had set up the domain through Google Apps (which parks the domain at Go Daddy, but I access it through Apps.) Of course, I didn't realize that at the time I made my call because I was having a senior moment.

I suspect Blogger was doing some late night diddling with their site.

With a sigh of relief, I went to bed, knowing all was right with the world.

Saying goodbye to my little friends



So what if they're a little careworn, embarrassing and a bit trailer trash-looking. They're sock monkey slippers!

I knew I should have bought more than one pair...