Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Joys of Working in Retail

This post was originally scheduled to be published way back in November, but I never got around to it (or totally forgot about it). The message/content is still relevant though, because I still deal with the same shit whenever I clock in at work. Ah, the joys of working in retail…

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Work sucks. Like, a lot.

Ironically, when this post appears on the blog I will have been working for one hour of a four-hour shift. I will probably be at the top step of a ladder, dangerously reaching for some stupid shirt that somebody bought at some point during the day. Eventually, after grabbing several other items, I will take a cart filled with tons of shit out to the sales floor and begin restocking the items.

At some point during the night, I’ll get a page to assist a customer at one of the cash registers. It’s usually a stupid question that I will immediately respond to by saying, “No, I’m afraid we don’t carry that item in our store…” At other times, it’s just a ridiculous question that no teenage-male should ever be expected to know the answer to– even if he happens to work on the apparel side of a major retail store. For example:

Customer (female): “What is the biggest waisted pants you carry in the store?”

Me: “Well, what do you mean by “biggest waisted”? We carry pants in various waist widths, ma’am, and we also have a plus-size department…”

Cashier (also female): “No, she means like pants with the loosest-fit in the waist-area.”

Me: (Thinking: How the hell am I supposed to know that– I’m a dude! I don’t know shit about ladies pants– they never trained me about this stuff!) “Um… Well, I would probably try these pants, they have a special-fit waist… I would also try these pants over here… If you would like to try anything on the fitting rooms are over there.”

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Along with awkward questions about women’s clothing that I haven’t the faintest idea of what the answer might be, I also get questions about bedding. I find these customers to be especially stupid– honestly, if you as a middle-aged consumer are confused about whether or not a style of sheet will fit your 17-inch deep mattress, do you really think the 17-year old sales associate will have a clue?

NO! He won’t have a damned clue, but he’ll read the packaging and give you his best guess and a reminder of the awesome return policy.

I believe my most memorable encounter with a customer occurred last weekend. A lady was looking at some stainless steel cookware and asked me to bust open a box so she could see the coloring outside of the packaging. We didn’t have a display out, and I wasn’t really aware of our policy on opening boxes for customers to examine merchandise, but I figured that if I resealed it appropriately, nobody would notice.

So we broke open the box, pulled out a single pot, and discovered that it was, in fact, not the same color on the box. Major disappointment. I quickly put everything back in the box and sealed it back up when the lady asked me to grab her two sets of another cookware set (red, like the original set was supposed to be). She then had me grab a red toaster. And a red coffee pot. And a red can opener. And a red toaster oven. And a red crockpot. And a red blender. And a red food processor. Essentially, if it was red and it was in our small appliances department, she bought it. She was buying all of this kitchen stuff for a friend for Christmas, but the friend was shopping with her and would be back soon. She then asked me to put the items on hold and quickly move the three carts of kitchen appliances out of sight. I hastily moved the few thousand-dollars worth of merchandise back to the hold room, wondering in my head whether or not it was “legal” for me to allow a customer to place this many items on hold. I assumed that because she had said she was coming back the next morning AND that she had left a business card that it really didn’t matter that much.

I also knew that I wasn’t working the next day, and that I really didn’t care whether or not it was against the rules. That’s just another reason why it rocks to only work on the weekend.

– Will

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Ironically, I had another customer ask me one of these “ridiculous” questions last weekend. I mean really, would you honestly expect a teenager to know anything about f***ing draperies?!? GAH! People are stupid.


The Boss-Man Returns…

As the unofficial “boss-man” of the twentyeleven project, I find it a bit disappointing that I have neglected to post on here regularly during the past few months. Life, or rather senioritis, overcame me during the past couple of weeks, and I was just too damned lazy and unmotivated to post anything on here.

That, and I was also “cheating” by posting stuff on another side-project blog. (I know, I’m disappointed in myself too.)

LOLcats give depth to emotion like disappointment, ya know?

Fortunately, you can still read the stuff I was posting on my side-blog when I was away from twentyeleven. There’s a bunch of stuff there that only a select few people have seen, so consider it bonus material. It’s like the extra features part of your favorite DVD, without the shitty ads for other movies that are “coming soon.” Where should you go to see these posts? Behind the Scenes: the official blog of OP13 productions. The most recent posts on BTS are mostly about my new camera, the Sony a390, and a few pictures that I’ve taken with it. If you dig back further, there’s other random stuff– some of it more personal, others about “behind the scenes” info involving The Final Summer and even the blog you’re currently reading this on, the twentyeleven project.

( ^ Hurrah for shameless plugs.)

There is no legitimate reason for why this should be here.

That’s all for now, folks. Look for a legitimate, ad-free post soon.

– Will

P.S. Yeah, I totally stole the lolcats thing from Joshua, aka The Professor. This was also done shamelessly.

P.S.S. LEAVE US SOME COMMENTS, DAMN IT! It’ll help us to shape our content to what you would like to see.

Forgiveness is a process. It doesn’t happen instantly.

Time for a rant/vent post. Apologies beforehand…

Does anyone else see this ever growing problem in society called instant gratification? Only, it’s not just with material possessions. This virus has somehow trickled into our emotional, mental, and relational lives. We don’t think we should wait out the given punishments our actions may merit. Our ability to take consequences and responsibility is dwindling and deteriorating. It’s a difficult thing to process and watch as it unfolds and devours our society. Instead of taking responsibility for our actions and accepting the consequences, we want to be forgiven and have every action looked past NOW. People don’t care if your life was ruined by what they did. They don’t care that you may not particularly want to be their friend again. No, all they want is to instantly be forgiven and their deeds forgotten. So they can do it to you again three weeks later with little to no consequence. Forgive and forget. Forgiving is a wonderful thing, yes, and we should never hesitate to do so. However, the problem arises when forgiveness merits normality. A situation cannot become the same as it was after an injury is inflicted. Your skin will never be the same after a scar has formed. Sure, it doesn’t hurt anymore, and you are able to live life normally, but the skin remains changed. Sometimes situations can be fully mended, but usually it takes time. LOTS of it. I’m afraid we are forgetting this. We are forgetting that time is the best medicine, that time is the only way some things can be rectified. Not everything can happen INSTANTLY. Not everything will go back to normal after you make a huge mistake. And we have to learn to live with that. To accept that. You will grow and become better for it if you allow situations to heal like they are supposed to. A scar that heals too quickly will eventually need to be ripped open again to heal properly. Same with a bone, or a broken relationship. We need to slow down, take a deep breath, and learn to wait.

Okay, rant over. Have a good day!

Yours truly,

Anna

Oh Captain, My Captain

So, apparently, there’s a big deal coming about, maybe you’ve heard of it (and no, for once it’s not me). There’s a new Captain America movie coming out soon, and you can watch the trailer for it here. Now, like his goody-too shoes DC compadre Superman (who Harrison Cooper talks about very eloquently at his blog The Hummus Offensive) the Cap gets a lot of flak for being an evidently simple character that is easily summable: America, fuck yeah; and you can’t beat my invincible shield. I think that this line of thinking is, as the Chinese say, wei wong (I’m going to Hell for that…) Captain America is my favorite superhero. Albeit, my view may be skewed because I’ve yet to actually read a Cap comic, but I’ve seen plenty of excerpts, read through plot lines, etc. I’ve done my research on the guy. And I love him, more than any other. But let’s get back to the purpose of this post, of which there are two primary lines of thought: to discuss how the character is incredibly deep, moving, and dynamic in comparison to static and simple; and my hopes, dreams, and fears about the movie that will come soon.

First, allow me to do this – the Captain is dead. The entire “time sync” shit Marvel is throwing out there is dumb and I believe (though have little evidence other than the author who killed him intending him to be dead forever as a statement) that it is a simple marketing ploy. Which is a shame. If the Cap solely belonged to the author, then he could kill him, and it would be terrible but it would give the final message. Instead, he and everything he stands for is being raped for a profit because why sell a superhero that is just going to die (see the whole movie thing and all the revenue it will generate from ticket sales and merchandise alone). Please keep that in mind if you read on. In fact, that arc (as well as his founding) will be the basis for my argument (as it is probably the best arc of his, from what I can tell).  What matters is his potential, which I feel typically has been underutilized.  Anyway, off we go.

So the Captain started as a skinny white kid who just wanted to kill some Nazis.  But in the end, he was just too small and frail and wasn’t allowed to simply enlist.  But then he was allowed to participate in a program that would make him stronger, faster, bigger – in essence, the perfect soldier.  Which he became.  Obviously, that is what he became, but I’ve heard some flak because he sort of just “got” better.  I would disagree.  Steve Rogers was a man with a goal, with a mind-set – to help people.  That’s why he wanted to enlist – not because Nazi’s are anti-American or fascist or whatever, but because they were hurting people (most famously the Jews, but don’t forget the large number of blacks, gays, gypsies, and basically anybody in Europe who wasn’t a German) violently.  They were waging a war of domination by any means necessary, especially if inhumane.  And he wanted to help stop it.

But he can’t.  He was, for all intents and purposes, bound to a wheel chair.  Imagine being Doctor X, but without the mental superpowers.  But instead, this was a metaphor, for finding that one opportunity.  Over and over he enlisted and he tried again and again and again to help, but he simply couldn’t.  And finally, he got his chance, his one chance, to be able to do what he felt he needed to do.  It’s as if somebody had offered this normal Doctor X the powers he has (which, I might add, anything with the mind is more metagming than anything physical (unless you’re the Juggernaut, but then, fuck you, cuz HE’S THE JUGGERNAUT!!!))  I won’t even cede the awesome shield.  It too is a metaphor, and a simple one at that – his code.  The morality, his ethics, his driving nature than inspired him to become the Captain protects him.  Nothing can stop a man driven to help people – be it bullets, lasers, or even death itself.  His shield allows him to accomplish the impossible, or at least attempt it without fear or hesitancy.

That in and of itself makes him more than just a guy who found his powers.  I’ll also note that he actually loses a considerable amount of the time (though I don’t want to take the time to find sources or whatever) in that he gets incredibly wounded or really just holds on, especially against his betters.  For example, take Captain America and imagine that we’re in a UFC of sorts, only of other superheroes.  Let’s put him against, say, Doctor X.  He’d lose, the guy has crazy brain powers that render his physical abilities essentially useless.  Wolverine – the guy is a mutant and would simply need to stab him in one of his many squishy spots, whereas the Cap would have to essentially break an unbreakable metal to kill him while outpacing the super regeneration.  Gambit, same outcome, he’d lose because Gambit rocks.  Thor, he’d probably lose because Thor is a God on Earth with the thunder of the Gods behind him (also a metaphor).  Spiderman, he’d lose because of the webs, really.  The Captain is not super.  He is a man – a strong and powerful one, no doubt, but still, just a man with the same limitations as any.  He can still die easily.  So what is his only defense against everything, be it bullets, explosive cards, or sharp pointy hand-knives?  His shield.  And we’ve already talked about what his shield represents.  And once he loses his shield, loses his conviction (look up the Civil War plot) he is a weak man again.  In fact, once he surrenders during the Civil War arc (which I’ll go into more detail in a second) and gives up his shield, his ability to be Captain America, he dies.  He is shot on the steps of a courthouse and dies there (again, fuck the time warp shit).

Obviously, he is not simply a flat character, or at least his origins aren’t.  Like Spiderman is a metaphor for puberty (which one could also take this a similar way, really) he is a metaphor for standing behind your beliefs, which are more than just “America, fuck yeah.”  My favorite excerpt I have seen from his comics is something I’ll link to right about here. In it, he recites a Marc Twain passage that he has memorized from his childhood and that has influenced him ever since. What I like a lot about it is also how he’s talking to Spiderman, it gives off this great feel and I can’t really explain it. My summation of the passage is: Every person must speak, must stand behind his convictions: to not do so is cowardice. To simply side with the majority is cowardice. If you feel something is wrong in the world, even when everyone else says it is right, you must stand, even if alone.

This is the Captain. He’s not the government’s poster boy. In fact, if you look at the link, he is the exact opposite, saying that the government is merely a puppet of the people. he is the embodiment of what I feel it is to be at least an American, if not a human being. Combine that with the story of the Civil War arc, and it’s like a great novel. In it, the government is making superheroes register themselves so that the government can use them, and the Cap stands against it. He feels that it needs reform, though he is not actually against the idea. Quite simply, it’s too much too soon, and he starts a resistance (against Iron Man, I might add). And he fights, quite valiantly and almost to the point of victory – until he realizes that he what he is doing is hurting the people he so loves. He sees paramedics, firemen, regular, ordinary people fighting and dying alongside the government forces, and it horrifies him. He so cares for people that he must stop fighting them – he physically can’t allow himself to continue. He drops his shield and is arrested. He throws aside his convictions for his love, and in the end, he pays the ultimate price for it.

It’s astounding, really, to think about it. How intense, how provocative everything is – one comic should be required in any American literature class (guess who I would like to be the protagonist). And now, in a gear shift that might kill most transmissions, picture the movie capturing all this. I know that they want to – it’s why the movie is titles “Captain America: The First Avenger.” It’s going to lead into the Civil War with Iron Man and Thor and everything. They are all related. But I sense that this movie won’t be able to fulfill my lofty goals for the Cap. I fear that they will simply make it a display of CGI and explosions, which would ROB the character. There’s so much they can capture with him, but I don’t trust that they can. If they do anything right, it’s keep him in WW2. That’s his time, it’s where he NEEDS to start – Iron Man can be elsewhere because the character allows it (it actually makes more sense in the present). I don’t know, I’m just… wary. I will see it, without a doubt. But will it be good is a totally different question. The trailer showed me explosions and spec effects, along with bad jokes. The actor, though he’s good, just doesn’t seem to fit the bill quite right – combine it with the fact that he’s one of the Fantastic Four and you see my issues already.

But I guess only time will tell. I know that I will see the movie, and I know that I love the Captain. I still want to get a tattoo related to him somewhere, simply because of what he means to me. But that’ll have to wait. For now, I’ll just keep my wall poster of him up and try to find that clock that was at Hastings again. And yes, there are this few pictures on purpose – I don’t want to litter the message with them. There will be more in later posts, though I promise you that.

SSDD

I know, two in a row, don’t go expecting anything. Anyway, I just wanted to get this out there that I am no longer in shape. I know, it doesn’t look it – I’m totally skinny and totally not-squishy, but really, it’s not because I’m fit. I have little muscle and no fat. I know this because I did a push-up test a few days ago – I barely was able to get 20 consecutive. It took all of my focus, concentration, and energy. I used to be able to do that almost without breaking a sweat. Too top it off, I used to run with Opie like a boss – a mile a day keeps heart disease away. Hell, I even ran outside of class, did a personal 5-k in 21 minutes (which I am proud of given that I never really was addicted to running, I just like to do it). Now, I breathe heavily at the top of the LA building stairs and could hardly run for a minute without feeling the irresistible (yet resisted) urge to just stop. I’m sad at myself.


Just like this, really, albeit with more Chili Fritos

And I’m sick of it. SSDD (Same Shit, Different Day), over and over. Time to stop this bullcrap. I started training again today for running – I’m working my way up. SLowly, though, because I have to lift and run around everywhere at my job. I come home and feel like I fought in WW1. But still, I’m starting doing some basic body-weight exercises again. I’ve got a plan (that I found online, Google it) that’ll get me to 100 consecutive push-ups in 6 weeks if I follow it (that’s 80 more than I can do right now, Jesus). In addition, my family has all started a running program that’ll work us all up from nothing really to a 5k in time for the Heart and Sole Run, which we all want to do. And to complement my push-ups, I’m doing squats/wall-sits every day, increasing steadily in general amount of work done, and burpees. God, I loathe burpees.


Burpees: God’s Punishment to Mankind for Everything in the History of Ever

Oh, and I did mention that I regularly have to haul around bags of dirt, concrete, bark, and the occasional BARBEQUE at work, right? So that’ll help with functionality. Plus I work at my mom’s studio, I’m trying to be an instructor, so I’m probably going to be doing yoga once a day or more (which I really shouldn’t bitch about because she often does it 5 times a day 5 days a week, but I’m still going to). Also, I’m going to have Jared, one of the bad-asses at work who has done martial arts all his life and can punch through two layers of drywall and elbow through one, show me some boxing and ground-game stuff for the next month or so. After that, I’m probably going to join The Grindhouse with Josh and maybe Adam if he wants to and their boxing program so that we can all be over 9000 (bringing our total to at least 27000)


But it is, Nappa – ball-crushingly terrifying, yes; but not wrong

All of this will be happening at the same time. Sort of like Inception, only with my body instead of my dreams (unless… nah I won’t get into that).. Ultimately, my goal is to have a physique like Georges “Rush” St-Pierre. I would put his picture here, but I fear that that would make any accomplishment seem inferior. I’m not really big into the UFC anymore, but I have always known GSP has the best technique and the best physique among all the Welterweights. Quite simply, he is the best looking monster you would ever see. Also, he’s a Canadian who speaks French, giving him the best of both worlds – the accent of the French without actually being a Frenchman.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m trying to gain weight during all this? Right now, I’m right around 155 on a good day after a pretty good meal. I wanna be 170-180, hopefully all muscle. I see my odds, and they get slimmer and slimmer as the summer goes on…

Wow
This is what I got when I Googled “wave goodbye.” I figured that it must be relevant somehow

Been Forever, but I’m Back

This was infuriating enough that I’ve just got to talk about it. Please, watch the video and then understand what happened so that you get the whole story, and you might understand how he could do such a thing.

It’s kinda disturbing, but it could be a lot worse.

Just watch from 0:45 to about 1:15. Critical Mass is a group of people who ride their bikes really just to show that they are on their bikes and stop city traffic. Hundreds of them, and only to stop traffic because fuck you, they’re on their bikes. No other reason. So if you need to get to work, and these assholes have decided on the route you need to use to get these, too fucking bad. Unless you’re this guy. I mean, yeah, it’s terrible. I feel bad for the bikers – kinda. I mean’ they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They put themselves there and then asked for it more than every 14-18 female MySpace/Facebook picture ever:

MySpace Asking For It
I would have a picture from Encyclopaedia Dramatica, but it’s gone now… I miss it so much…

But still, nobody should get run over (though really, they just kinda got plowed over the tops and sides). Would I run them over? No, but that’s because I naturally am against injuring anybody or anything that isn’t trying to injure me. These people really have no unified messages other than one general, stupid thing: bicycle awareness (which in and of itself is a joke because I am totally aware that there are indeed bicycles and people like to ride them for recreational and transportation purposes, there is little you can do to make me more aware of this fact). So to show that bicycle riders have every right to share the road with vehicles, they’ll stop traffic. When any vehicle aside from a motorcycle is, for all intents and purposes, a tank that can go 60+ MILES. PER. HOUR. If you get i front of them, that’s over a ton of metal going 35 in-town going straight up your ass. The odds are not in your favor of not getting injured – I’m sure that Russian Roulette with a 9mm has better odds of not getting you seriously wounded.

Russian Roulette for Morons
It’s funny because the clip will automatically put the bullet in the chamber.

I just don’t understand the logic. What I do get is a group of smart bicyclists that call themselves Critical Manners. What do they do in response to Critical Mass? Follow bike laws. You know, by stopping at stop signs and red lights, giving proper turn signals, staying in bike lanes when available. You know, polite stuff. That would make motorists much more respectful of bikers if that happened more often. But no, fuck common sense and getting people to like us and understand us by not being antagonistic. We’ll follow real logic, like most smug, self-righteous pieces of wanna-be-hippie shit: instead of showing how the meat industry is terrible because they wash ground beef in ammonia and mix it with ligaments and cartilage to make it seem like more than it is, we’ll just go to a steak house and chain ourselves to the doors; instead of showing how the whaling industry still happens and gathering a petition to increase international control over the industry, we’ll just attack whaling ships because those people are EVIL PEOPLE, not just people doing their jobs, possibly the only ones they know how to do that pays for them and theirs. No, that would be too logical. Instead, let’s stop people from going to work, ambulances from gettin to hospitals, fire trucks from getting to fires, because we are on our bikes and deserve to be respected.

Jesus Agrees
He’s just all right with me, but still, J-dog has my back on these fucking hippies (hipsters? Fuck it, these assholes in general.)

The Anticipation Grows…

Long time no type huh. Sorry about that. =\

I’m sitting here in the chair, wondering when I’ll be able to leave. Anticipation laces through my mind with probing questions, “How many more days? How many more events? What are your grades like? What will you do this summer?” My mind is achingly bored. These classes, though fun, are mind numbing on certain days and make me want to punch in a wall. Or a sheet of tissue paper…. that might be less painful. I’m jittery and on edge, counting down, figuring the hours that I still have to endure within these walls. It’s a tiresome wait. An agonizing wait. The days drag by slower and slower. I discover new things daily, and attempt to live with zest, zeal, and positivity. But it becomes difficult when no one is trying, no one is expecting great things, and no one expects things of you. I’m waiting. I’m waiting and waiting and waiting. What will tomorrow bring? What will my future look like? I can probably answer this question easier than the others. All I have done is obsess about my future, about the plans eventually to happen. Pouring over the various checkpoints to reach my first class of college August 24th. I have created list after list, calculated, searched for jobs, filled out various applications, and conducted mini surveys of my mind about how it might be. Gah! I am tiring myself, sitting at home and participating in these silly brain games associated with the “to be’s” and “not to be’s”. Can the summer approach any slower than the sluggish pace it has carried over these past four weeks?

Summer, if you’re listening, this is not the time to be lazy.

Yours truly,

Anna

Dear WiFi Router:

image

I know you don’t like me, but a friendly “F*** you!” would have been better then just randomly dying. Damned DSL-modem/wireless router combos…

Thanks (or rather “I hope you rot in the ninth ring of Hell, you dirty electronic P.O.S.),
  -Will

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Hey TwentyEleven Crew,

    I know that we’ve been MIA for a few weeks (again), but look for new content to begin coming in on a regular basis soon. The school year is coming to a close, and teachers are slowly lowering the insane workload to a semi-reasonable level (either that, or I’m just getting used to it). Videos and postcasts will be hittin’ the blog soon, so stay tuned…

    –  Will