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Posts Tagged ‘Requests’

Dear Detroit Marriott at The Renaissance Center,

I attended my annual research conference in you this week. I am NOT a fan, and I will not be back (unless I have absolutely no choice).

How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. Your staff is not prepared for guests. The line was 10 deep for check-in, and you had one person actually working. Three other employees — one of whom looked like a manager — were at the other end of the counter chatting. Do their eyes work? Couldn’t they see the line?
  2. Your building is not prepared for guests. There are six elevators “servicing” floors 40-70. Only two appeared to be working. A gang of fellow conferencers and I waited 10 minutes Thursday night for an elevator to take us down.
  3. Your events staff is not prepared for guests. Two thousand people attended the last in-person AEJMC conference (Toronto, 2019). That is standard for this conference. Yet nothing was set up to handle this influx of people. Your staff selected large rooms for small events (e.g., the University of South Carolina alumni breakfast featured three tables for eight in a cavernous room) and wee rooms for major events. For example, the Broadcast and Mobile Journalism group awards ceremony and reception was in the tiniest conference room I’ve ever seen. No tables. For an event that featured food and drinks. Group leaders who got to the event early drug in tables and chairs for the 50 or so attendees. Way to go, Marriott!
  4. Your technology support is not prepared for guests. This conference is primarily for journalism/mass communications professors. You know: People who communicate. They have devices that need to be charged. Outlets were few and far between.
This is the ONLY OUTLET in the room!

The various other problems fellow attendees and I experienced had to do with The Renaissance Center in general. It is, generously, an atrium-focused maze of wasted space.

Circulation Ring = CIRCLES OF HELL
Trust me: You can’t get there from here
No, you don’t really want to sit and meet/eat/work do you?

There is a shocking lack of open restaurants. Again, conference of 2,000+ people (and AEJMC was one of at least three going on at once). Hotel with 70 floors of rooms. Yet, it was hard to find a place to eat. Literally (see maze above) and because so many were closed. Note: There was a VERY bougie seafood restaurant open, but who wants to pay $75 for shrimp?

Desperation signage
Starbucks: closed
Another Starbucks: closed
Food court: mostly closed
Oh look! The open Burger King that I thought was only the stuff of legend.

Then there is the location. You are on the Detroit River. So a riverwalk with shops and restaurants would make sense. Apparently, it only makes sense to me. I would not say the United States side has ample commerce. The Canada side (Windsor) looks promising.

The Renaissance Center provides a great view of our northern neighbor.

But once again, you can’t get there from here if you don’t have a car.

I realize that the pandemic took a toll on the hospitality industry. That said, people are traveling again. Conferences are back in person. Do better, or you won’t have guests to piss off anymore.

Sincerely,
Bonvoy Member on Floor 47

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Hey Rock Music Fans! Have I got a new album for you.

Jesse’s Divide releases “Thirteen Steps” tomorrow. Some of you even responded to my prior call to action and helped fund this album. It’s their first.

“But wait, Beth,” you might say. “Haven’t they been a band for years? Haven’t they released songs?”

Well, yes to both. But this is their first ALBUM. The others were EPs.

Now, I’ve reviewed books, movies, plays/musicals, performances, etc., but I’ve never reviewed an album before.

But like an antivaxxer who knows ALL ABOUT the danger of the COVID vaccine thanks to his YouTube research, I’m going to act like an expert.

This is a great album — their best work to date.

Let me give you a frame of reference for my taste: Of their EPs, I’m partial to “Strange Alchemy.” Specifically the title track.

So let’s get to it. The debut features 10 tracks plus a special “secret” track, which is not so secret, clearly. (Why isn’t it 13? I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them.)

  1. Bad Decisions
  2. Free Thinker
  3. Down Again
  4. Long Time Coming
  5. Fyre!
  6. Thirteen Steps
  7. Jajvam
  8. The One
  9. Hollow Throne
  10. Anubis
  11. SYCM (aforementioned “secret track.”)

Bad Decisions

I feel like this is “my” song. My oft-used phrase “bad decisions make good stories” was, I’ve been told, the inspiration for the title. And the song is about bad decisions the guys made during their U.S. tour: Too much beer on the plane for Nick, too much tequila on stage for Rob, too much ALL THE ALCOHOL for Si in Savannah. The chorus even references what you do with a tequila shot. (“Lick it. Down it. Suck it. Wooo!”)

Photo evidence of debauchery:

I know you want to look at Si’s tongue. Don’t. Look at Rob’s dead eyes.
Look at Rob’s tequila sweats.
In addition to looking vaguely like Papa Smurf, Si has the dead eyes like Rob.

I don’t have photos of Drunk Nick, sadly. I wasn’t on the plane.

Anyway, the song. It kicks off the album with a bang. The main riff vaguely resembles the theme from “The Munsters,” so I’m a fan. Si has a fantastic voice, but here he screams like Steven Tyler. That’s great, if that’s your thing.

Free Thinker

This is the song for the antivaxxer mentioned who will think the guys agree with him. (Hint: They don’t.) It’s a critical COVID anthem.

Down Again

“Free Thinker” segues nicely into “Down Again.” And it’s catchy as all hell. It’s been in my head every morning this week. This could and should get radio play.

Long Time Coming

The lyrics make me think someone in the band is getting a divorce. (What’s going on, guys?) Again, catchy as hell. Accessible to people who like rock, pop, alternative. Also could and should get radio play.

Fyre!

No one likes a KISS soundalike song more than I do, so this is a song for me. I want them to wear fancy pants and big boots and play this in a stadium full of fans, all of whom are yelling “Fyre! Fyre! Fyre! at the chorus. “Burn baby, burn.”

Thirteen Steps

The title track is a heavy-as-balls concoction that references 13 steps to the gallows. Grim. But the song is a banger.

Jajvam

What the heck does that mean? A Google search says it’s Klingon for “Today is a good day to die.” Delightful! “Jajvam” hearkens back to JD’s first EP “Metadome.” And it would be a great song on that EP. Here it is overshadowed by everything else. Sorry. It’s just that the others rock SO HARD. (To be fair, I saw them do this live, and it killed.)

The One

This will kill live too. I want them to play it after “Fyre!” It’s an energetic and infectious rock song.

Hollow Throne

The opening riff sounds like a mix of Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and the soundtrack to a whodunit. This, “The One” and “Thirteen Steps” are, in my opinion, the heaviest on the album. But they still are accessible to pop-lovers like myself. We’re not talking Slipknot* heavy.

Anubis

Like “Down Again” and “Long Time Coming,” “Anubis” feels commercial. I could hear this on any number of my Sirius presets. It also sounds like a divorce song. (Seriously guys: Are you OK?) That said, it feels optimistic. It connects the whole album together and ends it on a high note.

Oh, but wait.

SYCM

It’s an acoustic amuse-bouche. Why here (this position and at all)? I’ll probably never listen again. I’m so sorry. I’m honest to a fault. I hope the guys will still love me. 😉😘

Anyway, the album rocks your face off the whole way through. No real ballads here, which is fine by me. It’s already pushed out “Strange Alchemy” as my favorite release of theirs.

So, be a trendsetter: Download the album on your favorite streaming service today! If you like it, spread the word and buy some merch.

*Look. Listen. I know there’s way heavier stuff than Slipknot. Not for me. This is as far as I go. You know my taste!

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Dear Missouri Drivers,

I’m so glad I learned to drive in Atlanta where Nascar has nothing on I-285. If I hadn’t, there’s no way I would have been prepared for you.

Perhaps you didn’t get any drivers education. Let me help.

Pro Tip 1
People getting onto the highway need to be able to merge. Let them in, for crying out loud!

Pro Tip 2
When someone has his/her/their turn signal on, that means the person wants to get over. Oh but wait, none of you seems to know what that is.

Pro Tip 3
The turn signal is a lever on your steering wheel that, when activated, lets other drivers know you want to make a turn or get into a different lane. You are in the Show Me state, so show me your freakin’ turn signal.

Pro Tip 4
It’s helpful to other drivers for you to pick a lane and STAY IN IT. Weaving in and out is annoying and dangerous.

Pro Tip 5
The posted speed limit is not a suggestion. It’s the max. It’s right there on the sign!

Maybe y’all drive this way to avoid all the potholes and road damage.

Seriously, these roads are about as bad as the ones I had the misfortune of driving in Antigua. That’s saying something.

Please, for the love of God, think of your fellow drivers.

I thank you from the bottom of my wheel wells.

Beth

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Dear People with “Just a Cold,”

Maybe you do have a cold. But also, you might have COVID. Let’s recap the Omicron symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Congestion and runny nose

That’s right: Also symptoms of a cold.

So before you get around anyone, TAKE A COVID TEST. They are available in stores (you can use your FSA/HSA), and there are free testing sites all over the place.

If it’s positive, ISOLATE, FFS.

And let’s be clear: You shouldn’t be around anyone if you have a cold either.

It’s because of one of you that my son and sister in law had a lonely Christmas.

Gideon hung out with some friends. Two days later, he didn’t feel well. Typical cold symptoms. We sent him to his room. Tested him: positive. Then Eddie, Dominic and I tested ourselves: negative. We waited a day. Tested again. Negative. Waited. Tested. Negative.

Only then did we feel like we were safe to be around other people.

Even though we didn’t have any symptoms.

See how that works? Protecting others?

We just tested again to be safe.

Waiting for results
Still negative

But Christmas 2021 is the one Gideon will remember as the one where we made him wear what amounted to a HazMat suit to open his gifts.

Poor Positive Gideon

I haven’t ever gotten Coronavirus [knocks wood], and I don’t plan to get it. I’m not taking chances.

The bottom line: If you think you have a cold, get tested anyway. Don’t be a Typhoid Mary.

Somehow this manages to sum up this Christmas.

Kthxbyeeee,
Beth

* To the tune of this classic.

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Dear Folks Who Won’t Get the COVID Vaccine:

I’ve created a handy chart for you to help in your decision making.

Look. Listen. We all had to get vaccinated to start school. What is the sudden problem? And you don’t want to show proof? We’ve all had to show proof of vaccinations our whole lives for school. It’s a public safety issue.

We also have had to show proof of identity when flying. And driving. And returning to the country. And voting in many places. (Hey, Georgia!)

So what’s the big deal with vaccine passports? We’ve had vaccine records for years!

We already have government mandates for safety (OSHA, seat belts, helmets, speed limits, etc.).

But some of those things only protect the individual, while others protect, well, others.

Vaccines protect you and others. Many diseases are gone because of vaccines.

Please get yours so we can all get back to normal. And so, you know, you won’t DIE.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Beth

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Dear Greg,

Thanks for your inquiry into the space I have listed on Airbnb.

I have questions:

  1. Why are you contacting me and not your wife? She has a job (clearly), so I assume she is a big girl who can plan her own trips.
  2. Will I be able to rent out the kitchen and living room for those nights as she apparently won’t be using them?
  3. Do you do this kind of thing all the time? Ask for “a better deal” where negotiation is not standard?
  4. If you buy a car, do you negotiate the price based on how many times you plan to drive it?
  5. What about your own house or apartment? Did you ask for a discount on the price or rent based on how many times you’ll use the whole house?

Sorry, Greg, but your request is ridiculous to me. The site is Airbnb not Airb. And I’m going to be a B and say NO!*

I’m still going to have to get it ready and clean it when she leaves. The price is comparable to other places and much cheaper than a hotel.

You and your wife can take it or leave it.

Sincerely,
Beth

*Credit to my cousin Ellen for that gem.

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Gideon and I look happy. Of course, I took this just as we arrived. Ignorance is bliss.

Dear Six Flags Management:

My son and I visited Six Flags Over Georgia yesterday. A Saturday in June. We must have been high to think that was a good idea.

You can’t do anything about the sun or the heat, but you CAN do loads about the rest of the experience.

My complaints fall into three categories: customer service, your app and basic human needs.

1. Customer service

You have none. Not a single person working there wanted to work there. That was clear. And some who were “working” were not.

Case in point: Macho Nacho.

We went into the restaurant at 1:14 p.m. — prime lunch time. Though there are two sides, only one side was open — despite the fact that there was food out and ready to go on the unmanned side AND you clearly had the staff on hand.

A few minutes later, four employees came in with Icees and stood around watching the others work.

It was at this point that I went partial Karen and emailed guest relations.

Meanwhile, my son faded into oblivion.

One other thing: If you are going to advertise that you have guacamole, please have guacamole.

2. The Six Flags app

As I am a diamond member, you send me surveys all the time. You always ask about the app. I always tell you it sucks.

Why? It’s useless. It doesn’t provide any information you can’t get inside the park all over the place.

You know what makes a theme park app useful? Ride wait times. Every other theme park app has them.

Not yours.

Plus, you have to have cell service to use the app. Service in your park is nonexistent. And your WiFi?

Right.

One of the incentives to use the app is the chance to earn points with checkins. (What these points go toward is a mystery, but whatever.)

Great, right? Haha! No.

“Too far away?!” I’m IN THE LINE.

3. Basic human needs

People need food, clothing and shelter.

I would argue that you deprived us of the first for longer than necessary (see Complaint No. 1).

No. 2 is not applicable here. I live in the South. I know how to dress for a day at the theme park.

No. 3, though, is applicable when it comes to the rides. There is no reason you can’t have canopies over the lines for the rides.

We wanted to go on the Goliath, but the wait time appeared to be an hour in the broiling sun.

No shade whatsoever.

No thank you.

All skin burns. My pale skin gets it worse.

I would argue that hand sanitizer is now a basic human need. Why have sanitizing stations when you don’t fill them regularly? We tried five before we found one with fluid.

Also bathrooms need to be stocked with toilet paper. I can’t believe I have to tell you that.

After one ride and lunch, we were ready to leave.

Gideon: I’ve had enough for today. Let’s go and come back on a weekday or some night.
Me: Good plan.

Please don’t send me an after-visit survey unless you really are planning to implement changes.

Kthxbye,
Beth

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Dear Dominic,

Do not use the washer as a dirty-clothes hamper.

I have told you this no fewer than 10 times in the past couple of weeks.

Put your dirty clothes in your hamper until you decide to do your laundry.

I’m sick of wanting to do a load of clothes and finding it already full of yours — just hanging out in there. Not washed.

Last night, you looked at me while you threw in your uniform. You were smiling in a very evil way, so I know you know exactly what you were doing.

So I did this:

And I will do it again.

For the 11th time: Do not use the washer as a hamper.

Kthxbye,
Your mother

* Thanks, Don.

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Dear Dominic,

Thank you for sharing with me the link to the car you want.

I regret to inform you that we are not going to get you a car at this time.

There are three very good reasons for this decision:

  1. You do not yet have your license. You only have a permit until September.
  2. You haven’t saved up enough money.
  3. You are failing four out of seven classes.

Also, a MUSTANG? As a teenaged boy? A teenaged boy with terrible grades? You will not be able to afford the insurance. We will not be able to afford the insurance.

You said you wanted a car to be able to drive yourself to football practice, thus making it easier for us.

Thank you for your concern.

What I can offer you is my bus pass. The No. 25 goes right to your school.

Love,

Mama

*Thanks, Tracy Chapman. (Now try to get that song out of your head.)

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Concept of mental load explained in one frame of a comic

Dear Men in Relationships with Women:

“Am I the Asshole?” on Reddit is alive with the sound of squabbling. One woman is upset about her boyfriend who doesn’t do chores (and doesn’t flush). A man thinks his girlfriend should do all the chores because she works from home.

Men, have you heard of the concept of mental load? No? Let me share it with you. (Thanks to Goat Yoga Lisa for introducing me.)

You don’t have time to read this whole thing? Yeah, women don’t either.

That’s the point. And the pandemic has made everything worse.

When did women sign up to be house managers? Hint: We didn’t.

Maybe in the Cleaver-style 1950s, things were more equitable. Men worked. Women stayed at home, raised the kids, and kept house. But now most women have full-time jobs and STILL have all the things to do at home.

Yes, there are exceptions. Yes, I’m oversimplifying. Yes, yes, yes.

But still my point remains.

I know you want to @ me with sentences that start with:

  • “But not all men … “
  • “But what about … “
  • “But I do … “

Please don’t.

Look. Listen. I’m sure you are lovely and think you are an equal partner.

But I bet you are not.

Ask the lady in your life. Listen to what she says.

Now that I’m conscious of mental load, I notice things I never noticed before. Gender roles are so ingrained.

A couple of weeks ago, we were visiting the house where my sister in law is staying until she gets her own place. It’s the home of a lovely professional couple. We were all outside chatting: three male adults, two male teenagers, three female adults. The lady of the house was being a good Southern hostess — getting drinks, bug spray, snacks, etc. My SIL disappeared. I found her in the kitchen alone making dinner. I rolled up my sleeves and started helping. We were in there working on dinner for about two hours while the guys had a nice chat outside.

To recap: Women inside making dinner or serving snacks/drinks. Men outside relaxing.

To be fair, when my SIL asked a couple of the men to help with one part of the dinner, they did.

But they had to be asked.

Now reread the article I linked.

That’s right.

Now do you see?

I thought you might.

Thanks in advance for taking on more of the mental load. Your partner will appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Beth

*Credit to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

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