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Thursday, February 28, 2008

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming...

To tell you that yours truly has been granted a day of blogging rest by Blog 365.

In observance of the leap year (and to give my brain a rest), all Blog 365 participants have been advised to take a day away from the keyboards.

What does that mean, you ask? It means that while I will be here in Philly freezing my cushioned tushy off, I will be imbibing copious amounts of wine, shopping my little heart out at Sur La Table (WHEEEE!) and visiting with old friends and not once looking at the blackberry going "Shit - I need to post before midnight" and then searching deep within the brain cells looking for some sort of blog fodder.

We'll be back to normal on Saturday - maybe I can figure out how to upload pictures on this thing before then.

Don't do anything I wouldn't do! Or, if you do find yourself getting into trouble - at least make sure you have access to funds for bail.

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Posted by Lys :: 7:10 PM :: 1 comments

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A Tale of a Traveler...

Now that I'm sated with a quasi-decent Cheesesteak and an ice coffee, my brain is slowly thawing. Today, I made the mistake of overestimating how prepared I was, causing me to scurry around the house looking for "the" pair of boots to go with my snazzy outfit. Three pairs into it and realizing that each pair had its drawbacks (too squeaky, too pinchy, too difficult to get through the airport screening), I had to keep going back to the drawing board. I finally settled on a pair of boots I wear often for work and are appropriately broken in and don't have nails showing in the heel from over-wearing. Looking Fabulous - Check.

I also was cleaning the house and preparing Shadow's self feeder so she could be her little independent self while I'm away for a few days, all the while hiding cookies and catnip treats for her to discover. (Yeah - chalk that up to "Crazy Cat Lady Syndrome"). My friend who normally keeps an eye on her is pregnant and, after much discussions with my father and friends, I was told that Shadow could handle herself. She has an automatic waterer, she has dry food in a self feeder, and she has a new pop up dish feeder that will feed her the Whiskas wet food at her normal dinner time - plus I fed her wet food this morning and tonight. But still, in the interest of not having her smother me in my sleep when I return Sunday afternoon - I'd like to live. Hence my refreshing of her toys with her kitty crack and the cookie scavenger hunt that awaits her this weekend.

And, yes, I got distracted by Google Reader and dishes, and a couple other things - and I overslept. So, I left the house 2.5 hours before my flight instead of the requisite 3.5 that I had allotted. Oh well. I'll survive, right? Ummm.. wrong. So here are a few things that basically drove me batty today during my travels. A bit of the chaos if you will.

I told ya - it was chaos today... I think wine is needed, just not tonight...

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Posted by Lys :: 12:06 AM :: 2 comments

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'm At A Loss For Words...

The Question To Ponder is:

Why does traveling have to be so chaotic?

Yeah, I told you I'd hit you with the one liners... more to come - just need to find where I packed my brain. Apparently it's frozen in this Arctic chill Philly seems to be experiencing.

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Posted by Lys :: 10:07 PM :: 0 comments

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ahhhh The Anticipation... (With Flashback Photos!)

Well, the anticipation of the impending craziness that is to be Philly 2008 was all the more solidified today by the arrival of the "party cam" - aka a small tiny electric blue FujiFinePix camera that can fit into my clutch/pocket/cleavage which will get incriminating shots of my friends at play. See, I'm still the publicist - I take the photos - I don't get IN the photos. Isn't this camera purty?



The last trip, you might remember,
we were able to get photos of "da club" and the NJAquanet patrol via the blackberry. That, in a pinch or covert operation, does well. This weekend, however, we will need the heavy artillery. I mean, or we'll wind up with pics like this - not that our male friends really minded the recap with pictures that was blogged shortly thereafter...



Basically, when we all get together, good times are bound to be had. And, somehow there is always lots of cocktails flowing, conversation galore, the occasional dance fest and calls/texts from those that were unable to attend. We throw a hell of a good bash - ask Reese!
And yes, since Reese brought it up in the comments, it is true. One night after a soiree, someone who shall go unnamed whipped out a tape for reminiscing and lo and behold, there was yours truly dancin' her little heart out in a damn bubble mini skirt along with everyone else. In my defense, it was 1988, I was 16 ' nuff said. However, you know, even with the bubble skirt your girl had the outfit in check (even the bubble was "checked" - yeah I know, lame joke) right down to the stilettos. Sadly, my hair was teased beyond belief due to one overzealous regular with a can of Aquanet and a hair pick who accosted me during wardrobe change *cough cough* Damn Diane *cough cough*. It could be worse tho - our gal Sus always wore a big azz bow. .

Here's the blackmail photo from 1988. Don't. Even. Go. There. Consider it an early Christmas gift.



Let's get more to current day, shall we. On my desk is a pic of some of our favorite boys. This was snapped a few years ago at Reese's birthday party (she flew cross country for cake and cocktails, y'all!) and much picture taking was had. I found the photo albums online when I was hunting for the scanned photo and oh. my lordy - between the club and the dinner we had earlier, it was camerafest galore.
This is Sal (who we never see), Rom, EJ, Ty, CK and it's just one of those photos that was utterly random. You halfway expect someone to have said "Yo Baby Yo Baby Yo" because, I have to say two of them in that photo often belted it out at inopportune times.


And since she brought up bubble skirt, we'll consider this partial photo retribution. May I present, Madden 2007. Never go to Dave & Busters with Reese & EJ. Those two competitive crazy kids went nuts.



So, with that, I will be blogging off and on - still trying to do NaBlahBlah so if I do a couple one liners or random ramblings about people we encounter, be kind. And, be prepared for a photofest when I return. That is, if I'm not recovering from the cocktails...

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Posted by Lys :: 8:37 PM :: 5 comments

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Monday, February 25, 2008

In Search of A Giggle (Or Four)...

OK - after the whole Guilty of Idiocy drama and Priceline being permanently regulated to the doghouse, let's have a giggle shall we?

First of all, if you have not bookmarked THIS SITE, you must. Oh. My. Lordy. There's another one that HotFessional loves which is also bookmark worthy - ICanHasCheezburger.com, but this site - it was death to eyeliner:

For those that loved "Snakes on a Plane" or "Pulp Fiction"...




For those that keep Horror Movies as their movie of choice...




For those that just - well, this needs no explanation... (except in my case it would be bottle after bottle of wine - jus' sayin')





And, finally - what Shadow must have said when she was born. 9 years later and she's like Goldilocks, looking for that elusive perfect box.



Now that you are all giggly, check out this article HERE - Kitchen Floor Contact Intensifies.

Much thanks to the uber fabulous Jen Lancaster for finding this gem! If anything, I needed a good laugh and that article came through just in time.

Now back to our regularly scheduling programming.



[Photos courtesy of LOLCatGenerator]

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Posted by Lys :: 1:07 PM :: 1 comments

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Yay or Nay: Dexter...


It's been on CBS for the past two weeks and I see Dexter has some favorite actors, Julie Benz (Buffy/Angel), James Remar (S&TC), Lauren Valez (New York Undercover), etc. etc. etc.


Does anyone watch this show? Thoughts, Opinions? Is it worth it to keep watching? Is it worth getting Showtime?


[Photo courtesy of Showtime]

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Posted by Lys :: 10:56 PM :: 5 comments

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Countdown: 3 Days...


I'm listening to a bunch of 80s songs as I'm doing the Google Reader Transition (courtesy of my blog player of all things) and I wanted a pic for my desktop of my favorite skyline. It reminds me that:


  • Whenever I see this skyline, a sense of calm overwhelms me and I know I'm home. If I'm here in Florida, I placate myself by watching "Cold Case" (hey - exteriors could be stock footage for all I care but it's STILL Philly skyline).

  • It is where I can say "yeah" and feel not as self-conscious because god knows some people down here (and Meowmix) detest the accent. Whatevs. If I really want to piss them off, I'll say "Water", however in my accent it comes out "Woo-ter".

  • It means that my accent will sticks for 3 weeks or so after I return and I can drive everyone here in the south nuts. (It also comes back when I'm talking on the phone to any of my Philly crew).

  • It is where I can see some of my absolute favorite people in the world - people who understand some of my neuroses and love me anyways.

  • It is where I can do some shopping and not feel the guilt because I'll get back on the financial treadmill when I return.

  • It is where I can get an authentic Philly cheesesteak and not shoot myself mentally over the calories (because I refuse to have them anywhere else BUT Philly).

  • It is where I can have cocktails and know that we always have a designated driver.

  • It is where I can sit, reminisce, laugh and cry and not feel guilty about the time escaping us.

  • It is where I can make new memories and count the days til when I return.

  • It is the perfect blend of old and new - the historic versus the modern.

  • It is where I don't actually MIND the snow - I just bitch alot.

Philly, I've missed you - can't wait to see you again.



[Photo courtesy of Stippling.org]

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Posted by Lys :: 1:27 PM :: 1 comments

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Weekly Round Up: Week Ending 2/23/08

As I'm slowly transitioning over to Google Reader, I found some gems that I've been meaning to yap about as well as newly discovered blog posts that will make you think, comment or just inspire...


What are you waiting for - click, click, click!

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Posted by Lys :: 12:50 PM :: 2 comments

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Randomness Alert...

Finally, the internet is up and working. Had nothing but problems trying to get the computer to work - but finally, at 11:25 pm it is fully operational - no blogging via blackberry as I don't want to fail my3?? days left of blogging on Blog 365...

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Now, my bloglines is beginning to fail me - so I wonder, is Mercury in retrograde or something? Because, seriously, when I'm ****blocked from reading Antony Bourdain's blog, Hotfessional's blog, Sarah's blog, Food Network Addict's blog, etc. - I take that as a sign of attack from Bloglines. Don't make me go to GoogleReader... I'll do it. I need to find out what is happening in Miami at South Beach Food & Wine Festival...

*********************************************************

I had to drop by my fave salon today to get a haircut so I don't appear like Shaggy of Scooby Doo fame in the Philly photos next week. As always, Karrie didn't disappoint - but something seems different. We'll see how it turns out tomorrow. However, the girl that did my brows was 30 min. behind (even after Karrie switching spots with her so I didn't have to wait for the late one), and Alissa, the brow girl, did quite the crappy job, if I may say so. She was so concerned about bitching about how many clients she was behind in, how she hadn't taken a break, how she was overbooked, how etc. etc. etc. to the shampoo girl that I thought - "She best be paying attention". Sure enough, she didn't and I didn't catch it until I got in the car. I would have caught it sooner had she offered a mirror, I had only to check the big mirror and the place was packed. I think I'm going to have to call the owner and make it clear she touches me again, I'll break the wax wand and tell her to go back to beauty school. So the hunt for a decent brow person is on again. Dammit all to hell. And I'll have to even this mess up my damn self tomorrow. I'd switch salons but I adore Karrie and as for Alissa, I'm going to give her the "off day" pass. She's still not coming within 10 feet of me though.

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Finally, is this not yummy? I detest all things celebutant/celebutard, but the turquise color that is sported by a certain ra-rah girl off a hit show in this bag had me at hello. I'll post the red one, but if you really want to see it, go check out the D&B site. And I'm definitely not a Dooney gal by any means, but I'm willing to go fondle and change my opinion.


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Posted by Lys :: 11:25 PM :: 5 comments

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Friday, February 22, 2008

-17 In Philly...

Reese texts me this morning with "Its -17 in Philly! I can't go there!! It's only raining in LA"

That prompts me to look out the window and I see patches of sun and clouds. Its in the 60s here in Orlando and I am sans jacket - my favorite type of winter attire. It can't be -17.

-17 Degrees means:

  • Coats
  • Scarves
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • PANTS (Sorry gorgeous dress I can't wear)
  • Red Noses (Don't call me Rudolph)
  • Red Cheeks (and not courtesy of a really good blush from NARS mind you)
  • Sniffling, Sneezing, Stuffy Head Nyquil Moments...
I'm scared now and I have to do a whole wardrobe planning overhaul. Because, clearly, in Orlando we shiver when it drops below 60. And then I need to pack the meds, airborne and everything else I might need "just in case" because Sick is NOT fabulous. Sick means no cocktails. Sick means no energy. Sick means lookin' a hot mess. And I am making a point to take lots of pictures with the new snazzy camera. I can't be all Rudolph-y Red Nose in the photos of my work/vacation. Oh HELL to the no.

Then I get this text from the Philly version of Joey Tribbiani - our soon to be famous actor friend CK: "1-3 inches of snow and ice today..."

Wowza - snow/ice/wth??? He must be playin'. I think I need to have a cocktail now to deal with the information overload.

Snow and Ice equals

  • Flat shoes
  • No heels
  • No open toed shoes (which 75% of my new fabulous shoes ARE)
  • Everyone telling me "God Lys you really are short"
  • Slippin' and fallin' on my ass on the ice that I won't see and obviously I would do that if I'm anywhere near a cute boy. It always happens.
:::sigh:::

I think I need to re-evaluate the shopping and plans. I also think we need to put it out there for fabulous weather much like we're used to.

The things we do for the love of PR... and, for the love of shopping... and, of course, for our friends (who need to ply us with wine, lots and lots of wine)


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Posted by Lys :: 11:09 AM :: 7 comments

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He Thinks We Don't Know...

I'm a bit miffed...

Reese and I both run the unofficial website for the show I was on eons ago and, as one of my friends said, I am the gal who loves to help keep everyone in touch. With all our busy schedules, it's tough but getting easier in the days of social media. Basically, let's call us the unofficial alumni wenches. Many of the photos on that site, the MySpace and the message group are from my personal photo album. Other photos are from other regulars and guests. It's a great thing.

Over the years, we've always had a particular fan that has kinda been a bit "competitive". I'm not against fans - hell, I was one myself before I was invited to the set. I am, however, apprehensive of some that make my internal radar chime quicker than a doorbell. I always try to trust my instinct when it comes to that. This one "fan", well it's gone from a chime to a long drawn out alarm over the years. He starts a message board when the message group took off. Fabulous - we show our support and register, post, etc. When the message group website couldn't handle the volume of photos we had, I built the unofficial website to house all the pictures (which is at our expense - it's far from free). He starts his own page on a free server. We were cool with that. He's in his corner, I'm in mine. I tend to stay mum on some things in the interest of keeping things with this part of my life conflict free.

Well, something was nagging me today when I went to email a few people to let them know we were coming to town and I did a quick google search. *boom* There's his site. And, on his site are photos from MY PERSONAL ALBUM that were featured on OUR page not for display anywhere else. However, knowing it's from our page, from my album - you would think he would have linked, asked, something. (Note to self: Be more proactive with photo links. Bad Lys bad!)

What do you think I should do? Obviously talking with him just doesn't work because the last time we warned him about this stuff from the group, he didn't listen (as evidenced by his now posting of photos that are not his). Part of me wants to be a major wench and put him on blast publicly. However, part of me wants to play Copyright Protector and go about it the legal route.

:::sigh:::

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Posted by Lys :: 12:38 AM :: 5 comments

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Redeemed From The Trenches: HSN...

Well, after the Priceline Debacle, I have to give kudos to where kudos is due. Gateway is STILL in the doghouse but you know what - HSN did right by moi.

After publishing the last blog, I decided to call HSN and find out what's holding up the whole process of the Battery Return. No surprise that Gateway still has not yet alerted them to the return. No surprise that Gateway, rather than sending it overnight, sent it ground and that, in and of itself, would have violated the terms of the return contract with HSN if I had not kept my paperwork. No surprise that Gateway didn't give them the "top secret code" that I had to lose my mind to get which is their internal reference. Thankfully, I have the little "tracking" slip that the FedEx Kinkos gave me (Gateway doesn't let you just go to a Fedex Facility - it HAS to be a FedEx Kinkos that closes early and won't be open on weekends for shipments) and through the wonders of CSR Angels: Michelle and Senior Supervisor Debbie, they both raised hell over at Gateway and *viola.* All of a sudden, Gateway said "Oh yeah - we got that ummmm... 2/15/08" Dingbat - I sent it back 2/11/08 and explained it to Debbie of the hoops that Gateway insisted I go through to return everything. And, I had the paperwork to back me up - timestamped and everything. Debbie didn't waste any time. Gateway was out of pocket.

Debbie took care of me and I did tell her what an ace they had with Michelle as a CSR. She really is a pro. Gateway should take notes from them. Again, like I said, good job deserves recognition. Bad job calls for retraining. Horrible job - let's not go there. Your gal needs to keep the blood pressure down. And, HSN believes in customer retention so she's going to talk to her higher-ups about the drama that way they can avoid that in the future. She's also applying the credits so that it can finally be taken care of (and USAA processes quickly so your gal will have the money in a flash).

In the interest of full disclosure, at the end of everything, Debbie did also give me a coupon for a future purchase which, under protest from me and refusals of "That's not why I called", she insisted on putting it on my account. Note that the coupon did not pull them out of the doghouse - the actions of Debbie and Michelle did. I buy other things from HSN like entertaining stuff from Colin Cowie, Huggable Hangers and Terry Lewis leather jackets (delish!). I don't go crazy spendy there, but I do browse from time to time.

And, looking out from above, my putting it out there of wanting a blue Fujipix digital camera for the trip. Not finding one in any store around town for reasonable prices (or colors - c'mon ORANGE? Do I look like an orange gal?) led me to find a lovely gem on HSN's site which I did get for the Philly trip (because y'all need pictures, right?). Plus, I applied cash back and the coupon which led it to be MUCH lower than Circuit City was wishing for. Already HSN had it for $60 cheaper than the one I saw in the store and so I upgraded my shipping and it will be here Monday. I was going to purchase it anyways but I was still on the fence.

Am I pleased with HSN - you bet. They weren't the idiots. Am I livid with Gateway still - yes, but I'll work through it. Will it affect me buying a Gateway again - sure. I refuse to deal with idiot customer service and sadly the Gateway call center was missing a few marbles. However, I'm not going to penalize HSN for the actions of one vendor. They are applying my credit which evens everything out.

Bad Day turned to Good Day. And, I'll be damned if I'm not going to make a lemon drop martini out of lemons when life hands me a big bowl.

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Posted by Lys :: 7:28 PM :: 2 comments

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Guilty of Idiocy: Priceline.com

OH boy oh boy - do we have a doozy for you today! Grab your coffee, wine, whatever - this will be the Guilty of Idiocy of ALL Idiocies (yes - even more than Gateway and I NEVER thought I'd say that).

Y'all know I'm loyal to places that have done right by me. I am one of those who frequents a business/establishment, etc. based on track record and, for the record, I do give allowances for "bad days" "off days" or one time incident. For years, I have sworn by Priceline.com and have had many enjoyable trips with them. If I can "name my price" I will because, for the most part, Priceline has kept their standards applicable with the industry. A three star is a three star; a four star is a four star. I've recommended them to the heavens to my friends and family. I've praised them in reviews and I'm sure here at Just Because...

However, it's not the case any longer. Priceline and I broke up. I mean it's a serious breakup whereby they come near me again, I'll put them on blast even more than I am right now. If they were human, I'd slap them with a restraining order. I was even told by other customers that I work with that Priceline has been severely letting them down.

I've dealt with some real "characters" in my never-ending quest to find decent customer service. Again, I feel the need to reiterate - if I find great service, I'll tell you, them, their manager and write a letter if I so choose commending them for going above and beyond. If you act like a customer is not "worth time and effort" or give me stock answers or read from a script rather than think before you speak, game on. I will shut you down immediately, ask for your manager and I make it simple. I tell the person "Who do you want to have me throttle - you or your manager". 99.9% of the time, they move up the call to the management and rightfully so. Does that mean I'm going to sit there and tell the manager how inept you are - most of the time, no. I want a resolution and apparently it's only management that can provide that. Not a big deal. I don't go out of my way to make life hell for CSRs - they do that all on their own.

I can tell you that I would rather cut off my ear than EVER talk to a Priceline customer representative again. I can tell you that after this trip is finished next week, Priceline is getting a SCATHING letter to the CEO because, apparently their "Head" of customer service can't be bothered to address an issue that was so simple. Instead, she, much like her CSR counterparts, "passed the buck" and gave the issue to a CSR who basically regurgitated a form email and thinly veiled "research" (Make quote marks in the air please and you'll get the effect) communicating an unwavering position. Rest assured, that when a customer is happy, they tell people. When they are pissed, they tell even MORE people. And you, my dear readers, should be warned about what I just went through.

Here's my question - in the quest for affordable travel, can Priceline at least be honest with its customers?

My issue is simple - they placed me in a hotel that is a two star, at best, and called it a "three star". If anything, it only merits a three star based on the fact that it is located right near the Liberty Bell and Freedom House, etc. - the Historic District of Philadelphia. By all other reviews, it is basically, as one person termed it "A Motel 6 With Interior Stairs". Now, tell me - when did Motel 6 (or it's equivalent) become a 3 star hotel? A three star hotel is the Sheraton Society Hill. A three star hotel is the Hilton. A three star hotel is the Hyatt. A three star hotel is NOT a Holiday Inn. And while I wasn't going to call out the hotel, I feel I need to address the situation prior to going down there.

While I have spoken with the hotel and fully communicated my concerns, Priceline, rather than listening to a long term customer and actually INVESTIGATING the cause of my distress, goes to three sites and says "Well they rate it three stars so it is three stars". They don't read the reviews. They don't check the Better Business Bureau. Basically, by this lack of attention to detail, one can safely say that Priceline really doesn't give a damn. They just want to close the case file and be done with it, from all appearances. Their actions certainly reflect this behavior.

Now my major concern, outside their obvious head in the clouds mentality about what merits a Three Star v. Two Star hotel and obvious error re: same, is the executive management and their version of customer service. Also, I feel I need to address the problems within their Customer Service Department and their attitude towards those that frequent their business.

Last night, when I was made aware of their 'choice' of a "hotel", I immediately called Priceline. I know it is standard for them to not make changes of hotels when they book them. However, when they book a two star hotel as a three star, they are clearly trying to pass one property off as something it clearly is not. Therefore, it would nullify that particular cluase of the fine print contract and they could, indeed, make a simple change. I didn't have a problem upgrading to a property that truly fits the "Three Star" category and paying for the upgrade.

However, when I spoke with them, I was told to hold and that they could transfer me to a manager who would immediately address my concerns and help me find a resolution. Enter: "Don" [#3059], a Customer Service Satisfaction (or whatever) representative and definitely, by no means, was NOT a manager.

Let's talk about Don shall we. Don, during our not so pleasant discussion was rude, would interrupt me with an answer without even letting me finish my sentence or question, condescending, distracted, would answer without listening, evidently was incompetent and, when I basically reiterated my initial request for management, he informed me that there was no manager on the floor. Apparently, by all appearances and Don's statement, one could safely think that the CSRs manage themselves. There is no management available for customers. However, he said if I really needed to deal with a manager, I could email through their website and communicate my concerns which would be addressed in "24 business hours". Well, Don - 24 BUSINESS hours is, pretty much 3 business days. His response "Well they are open from 8:30 - 6" all said with a bit of a smug attitude. If I could have reached through the phone and done the V8 slap, I would have. Fine then 2.5 days if you want to quibble. I told him more than once that he personally would be called out if he continued to act the fool. He was comfortable with that and willing to accept the responsibility for his [non]actions. He begrudgingly gave me his customer number because I told him that he would be addressed in the email - its more than just my initial concern. There is a severe problem within the ranks of Priceline and Priceline needs to address it.

Now, in crafting the email, one cannot just email from the website without doing a little digging. See, that's how Priceline gets you. Here's how to do it - because they are negligent to make this fully available to their customers. They choose to hide it under another link - INVESTOR RELATIONS. Wait - there's more hide and seek games because then you have to go to MANAGEMENT and then the holy grail of "Are you a priceline.com customer who would like to give your feedback to our management team? Click here." What the hell? How unbelievably arsine is THAT? Well, they asked for Feedback and by all means necessary, they got it.

I blasted an email to them through the site and, for good measure, rather than copy their publicist as I wanted to do, a Brian Ek, I decided to hold the person accountable that is in charge of the Customer Service, Lisa Gillingham. Because, as you all know, if you are a manager, you are responsible for the actions and efforts of your employees - both good and bad. Lisa's full title is "Senior Vice President, Customer Service and Operations". Wouldn't that entail her actually taking responsibility for the actions of her customer service team? Review after review I read of Priceline really made me question their ability to take care of a customer. Apparently, by their "pass the buck" mentality and their shoddy rating system seemed to alienate many a customer. I am not the first, and by their behavior, I'm sure I won't be the last.

Well, I got a call back from them and a poorly crafted (and by all appearances, mostly stock language) email from their representative, Katie Leilous. I would like to think she is a nice girl and all, but she's the lamb put out for the slaughter. If you search Rip Off Report and the internet, you'll find both her name and Ms. Gillingham and incident after incident of their constant dropping of the ball. Keep in mind, I clearly asked for a manager and I get someone from "executive offices." However, I don't see that Katie is a manager nor did she identify herself as such. From all that I've seen on the internet, by her Classmate's profile, she's younger than me, she's apparently less than cooperative with irate customers and Ms. Gillingham seems to put any and all complaints on Ms. Leilous' shoulders which, as clearly evidenced by my response to her email, cannot handle the burden. And, for the record, Ms. Gillingham's email sent me a lovely read receipt so I am fully aware that she did, at least, open the email. She should, at least, try to assist her staff with solving a simple problem. However, she took the easy way out and just ignored.

I've already spoke with the hotel and will address that with them. They are aware of my concerns and my obvious dissatisfaction with Priceline.com When I return is when the game is on. I will not tolerate either Ms. Gillingham's indifference, Ms. Lelious' lack of customer service or Priceline.com's evident display of their version of "Forget You, Customer". Well, they haven't waged battle with me yet and, you can rest assured by the time I'm done, there will be people crying - one of which will not be me. No, I think there will be people that will be a little disturbed that they didn't just handle something so simple from the outcome. And those two names that will receive the brunt of my wrath if I have my way are Katie Leilhous and Lisa Gillingham.

Beware - Priceline.com, regardless of their advertising, only really cares about one thing and that's not customer retention. It's how to find the most lazy way about problem solving and who cares if their customers are happy or not. In their view, there is a sucker born every day. Take this as a warning to NOT be their sucker. And Priceline.com, I'm sure we'll cross swords, and soon. Except this time I'm slaying the damn dragon and that, Priceline.com Customer Service Department, is you.

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Posted by Lys :: 5:56 PM :: 1 comments

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I'm Not Trolling... Seriously...

I have a huge Guilty of Idiocy post but, in the interest of time and because I'm later than the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, I figured I'd post quickly before I departed to my new role as the crazy nosy neighbor on the porch, cardigan & all. All I need is a cane and to learn how to scream "Whippersnappers" and I'm set. I've already got the attack cat.

Well, I'm going to my first "Neighborhood Watch" meeting tonight in Altamonte. No, this is not motivated by the fact that I saw the cop from when I first moved to Altamonte. No, this is not motivated by the fact it's at the Police Department. It's actually motivated by the fact that we've got too much crime going on in our area and dammit, I'm mad. Plus, I have to use my big mouth for something, right? Well, besides talking to idiot customer service reps like they are children.

Of course, if I just so happen to run into Mr. Officer, well, that's a bonus right? Yeah, I know. I'm trolling. Just don't tell him, okay? Let's keep it between us.
UPDATE:
NO, he wasn't there - I'm sure he was on patrol, but I can say that the meeting tonight was well worth my time. I am very shy when put into situations like a new class, meeting with strangers, etc. and was all "Do I/Don't I" prior to. Throw me in a club, I'm cool and the furthest from shy (Meowmix says I'm mean, but eehhhh). Throw me into a situation like this, I'm a fraidy cat at least until I get used to the environment.
After getting a stern talkin' to from JoeZ. and my father to just go, I grabbed an ice coffee from Starbucks (less chance of them swiping the coffee at the door. Don't cops normally prefer Dunkin'?) and went into the meeting. I'm happy I did. I finally was able to have a conversation with people who care about the community and actually start to use my brain. My brain has been sort of rotting, I might say, at the 9to5 due to the burn out. I was able to talk intelligently about issues facing our community, issues that I encountered up north and how they might be cropping up again with children/teens/adults that have relocated here, and have an honest exchange with other like-minded people. I also found out that I could volunteer with the PD and I'm going to look into it in more detail. I did have to giggle at a few things that were asked, but the officers took the questions seriously and really alleviated the attendees' concern.
I think my city has a fabulous PD and, for once, I'm finally feeling at home in Florida. These cops are like my crew up north - honest, forthright and just straight up real.

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Posted by Lys :: 5:18 PM :: 4 comments

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obsessed With: Claudia Ciuti Shoes...

In my email today, I received a little media release about the new Spring/Summer 2008 line at Claudia Ciuti shoes. I'm sure some of you are going "Claudia CIWHOOO" but avid Ugly Betty devotees know that Wilhelmina's style knows no bounds and on Wilhelmina's feet are often some lovely pair of Claudia Ciuti Shoes per the request of the one and only Vanessa Williams. I've been looking to new and upcoming shoe designers moreso than the standard CLs, etc - just out of curiousity. Well, I found a couple pairs that I'm lusting after and figured I'd share the pretty pictures with you. I went to the SALE section so y'all know that I've got my budgetista hat on as well!

A Va-Va-Vooom Red Shoe is a must for EVERY fashionista's closet. Check out the IVA



For a classic T-Strap with some spectator style, why not try the LILLA



For a basic black pump, why not check out the MIMI. (I know I am)



Want something a bit more embellished? Check out the LINDAR.



Trust me when I say there is more - much much more, but what are you waiting for - click click click!

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Posted by Lys :: 9:29 PM :: 2 comments

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What To Do When One Is Bored (or Un-Inspired)...

Thanks Lesli for the idea...




Click here to create your own painting.

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Posted by Lys :: 12:01 AM :: 1 comments

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Sigh... My Mojo is M.I.A.

I'm about to put out an A.P.B. for my PR mojo. Sadly, it's missing.

I told a friend of mine that I would help him with his media kit and have everything done BUT his bio. Of course, I told him Friday I'd submit it tonight. As luck would have it, either I'm rusty at this PR thing and the 9to5 gig has burned me out or I'm just beyond uninspired. What makes it tougher is that it's for a friend of mine and I have to make it a point to remain neutral. I can't be all descriptive and glowy about the project - I have to approach it like I would for any other client.

I have a feeling that, much like another deadline I had about 6 months ago, I'll get hit at 3:00 in the morning and started typing a rough draft on my Blackberry. And no matter how much I listen to the music, my thoughts keep getting interrupted by thoughts of the impending Project Hell III that awaits me at the 9to5.

I hate feeling like this. :::sigh:::

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Posted by Lys :: 10:59 PM :: 1 comments

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Obsessed With: Cute Things for the Kitchen...

I know I haven't done an "Obsessed With" in a while but here are some cute things that I think are so fab and definitely on my "might buy" list...

These Ladies Who Lunch saucers and teacups by Rosanna. I think it's so adorable, especially when you have a friend over for lunch.



Also a winner: The I'd Love To Have... mugs and plates from Rosanna.


And these would look fabulous on my wall... Little Black Dress collection from Rosanna.


Moving on (before I invest may-jah moola over at Rosanna's site), I dropped into Williams Sonoma this week to return something that I purchased (a sifter - found a better deal and more well made over at the Le Creuset outlet), and Joshua let me fondle this gorgeous Scarf Print Tablecloth in blue (Erin - they have a pink version; Sarah - there's a Kiwi version!). Normally I'd balk at $58.00 for a tablecloth but if you saw how well made it was, oh my heavens, love it! Perhaps I'll come back from Philly with this in my suitcase. (Why is it I rarely feel guilty for that which I buy on vacation?)


Shop Suey Boutique, has some amazing aprons. Here are a couple of my favorites:





And finally, here are the two new additions to my kitchen (Don't stress - they were on sale!):



Many thanks to Greg over at the Le Creuset outlet at the Prime Outlets for his expert advice, as always!

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Posted by Lys :: 10:08 AM :: 5 comments

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Not Dreading the Monday...

The 9to5 is closed tomorrow and yours truly will be actually be doing something I don't do very often - relax.

Sure, I have a bunch of PR materials that I have to draft for a friend of mine, a kitchen I have to re-organize and laundry that has to be done, but this is one of the few times that I am not stressed out on a Sunday. I'm sure from Tuesday on I'll be in Project Hell Part III, but oh well. At least Monday, I'll be chilling out and working on my schedule, not something that's been pre-ordained for me.

I'm starting to think BR has something with his concept of the "4 Hour Work Week" or whatever else book he's reading this week. However, for now I need to keep things at an even keel and find balance, somehow. Yesterday, I went out to dinner with the fabulous F. to catch up (Cheesecake Factory's Fried Macaroni had me fasting all damn day today but oh. my. holy. hell was it gooooooood!) and I went wandering through the Millenia Mall and then to the Prime Outlets to fondle my pots over at Le Creuset (more on that later). It felt good to be on a schedule that I controlled and I wasn't running at 1000mph or my mind racing faster than the speed of light. I rarely, stress rarely, am able to do that. Today, I played hermit and just enjoyed my place - no people, no roommates, the cell turned off - absolute peace.

Sometimes it is the simple things in life that a gal needs.

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Posted by Lys :: 10:45 PM :: 3 comments

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Making Some Changes...

A few weeks ago, SL got on my case to try something new - Organic Milk. My wallet screamed to high holy hell, but for some reason, he was right. The coffee didn't taste as bad, I actually found myself looking forward to cereal and I found that when I cooked with it, the food tasted a wee bit better. (Or perhaps that's just my ego justifying the $3.89 price tag for a half gallon.) Not to mention, it lasted longer. When I would buy milk from Albertsons or Publix, it would go bad days earlier than it should. Not good. So with the Organic Milk, it worked out well for me.

The other day, I saw an article on MSN.com about The Dirty Dozen: Top 12 Foods To Eat Organic. I remember my father would "discuss" with me the benefits of buying organic veggies because of the pesticides but my opinion was "Hell - it hasn't killed me in 36 years, I'm fine". Now, after reading that article and noticing a couple other things, I found myself somewhat grossed out about various pesticides and my mind was running rampant over what chemicals I was inadvertantly exposing myself, my family and friends to. I often buy many of the vegetables that they referenced and now I'm trying to find out what I can cut back on so as to allow for the expense of organic tomatoes, beef, celery, peppers and fruit. And also, I'm trying to find a way to buy more economically and less impulse, including planning my meals for the week.

In the long run, I think it will be better. I find myself not getting sick as easy (except for that flu crap). I'm not having "attacks" where I feel like my side is getting stabbed repeatedly. I suffered from that for years and I would avoid raw tomatoes and all things seeded which seemed to trigger the attacks. Just recently in the past year, I've been craving fresh tomato and the damage has been minimal at best. Knowing that I can have tomatoes that are pesticide free is somewhat intriguing to me. (Because I adore a PLT (Panchetta, Arugula Lettuce & Tomato) Sandwich.)

Also, it means more shopping at The Fresh Market and less at Publix. Going to Whole Foods here is like taking one's life in their hands. The amount of people who drive crazy going to the plastic surgeon on every corner in Winter Park is too much. It makes Boston driving look like a lazy Sunday drive. I'm also going to see if the Farmers Market is in or around the Orlando/Altamonte Area. If we don't take care of our health, who will - right?

And don't EVEN get me started about what I was told about not drinking the water or cocktails in restaurants that have the lemons & limes in them or anything from a bar tray. That's way too gross for me to leave you with the visual.

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Posted by Lys :: 1:47 PM :: 3 comments

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I Want A Coooool Rider...

Gotta love Bravo! Its Grease 2 tonight...

Who didn't love this song (as corny as it was)...

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Posted by Lys :: 12:37 AM :: 2 comments

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Friday, February 15, 2008

It's Fluff(er-Nutter) Time (Or, In The Alternative: When The Lakers Invaded Orlando)

I promised y'all a fluffy story and, by God, y'all will get the fluffy story.

Setting: Nice sunny day

Location: Downtown Orlando

Cast of Characters:

  • Lys
  • SL
  • Co-worker
  • 2 very tall men
  • 1 security guy
  • 1 Cell Phone (hey - it's like a person, right)

Last Thursday, my friend SL and I decide that we're going to run to Starbucks. It's our 10 min. getaway from the call of the office and we needed some air. The shuttle had launched and a walk was needed. We cross the street on our way to the Starbucks by the Westin Grand Bohemian and a co-worker sees us on the street.

Co-Worker: "Hey - go by the Westin. I just saw Kobe Bryant and *mumble mumble mumble*"
Lys: (thinking - basketball - I hate the Lakers) (ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ) "Okay"
SL: "LETS GO THE LONG WAY. YAY!"

Let me tell you about my boy SL - he is one of the most cheerful, positive people and loves to meet people. He wants to meet a Laker, by God I'm going to find a way and he's gonna meet a Laker. And, knowing how entertainment/sports personalities are - security can be an issue. Obviously the Lakers were playing the Magic. I have NO love for the Magic. I'm a 76ers gal, myself, but hell - if a team is gonna come here and spank the Magic, I'm all for it. The only player I have a bit of affection for is JJ Redick (have you SEEN him - *swoon*) but he plays, like what, 7 minutes a game - what the hell. (Hey Van Gundy - play him more and I won't scream at the 76ers on the TV to spank y'all like a baby, okay?)

Back to the scheming. With celebs, there's a trick to it. You never approach when they are at a restaurant. That's just rude, IMO. Often they don't want to be recognized. If you do happen to encounter, keep it short, sweet and perhaps they will take a picture. ALWAYS show proper respect for the security team. They have to deal with alot of crap.

So, considering our options, it dawns on me "Hmmmm - perhaps H. and his fam had met the Lakers - perhaps I can use the publicist angle to get SL a pic or autograph in case fans are milling about." [Trick o' the trade people trick of the trade.] Like MB has said, everyone knows H. and his family - they might not until they hear the song and then they freak out. I've had people CRY when H. wasn't at a gig that I was working. (BTW - having the same fan tell me how lucky I was to know H. blah blah blah, that still makes me giggle. And I blame H.'s brother who told her, "Hey - talk to Lys - she's close with H." GRRRRRR) MB has been "terrorized" for lack of a better term (he'll say "annoyed" or "bugged") by one inquisitive fan. So yeah. I'll use that angle if it helps a friend.

[Lys whips out cell phone to call MB] "Drats - no answer"

And, sure enough, there's one of the Lakers, Lamar Odom. He looks pissy and by GOD that man is tall (he's 6'10) Here are a gaggle of fans wanting to meet and I hear security say to the excited fans "I'm sorry, Mr. Odom is on the phone right now. Maybe when he's done". [Odom was far from on the phone - man was listening to his iPhone. Your gal ain't stupid].

Also there was Kobe Bryant, I nod in acknowledgement as he's in conversation, Kobe nods - 'sall good.

I had to resign myself to the fact that I would have to call H. since, of course MB refused to pick up his cellie. Dangnabit!

[Cell phone gets whipped out again, dials H. furiously].

H.: "Lyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyysssssssssssss. How ARRRREEEE you?" [he begins to babble] (H. has a habit of drawing my name out and enunciating a few words.)
[I realize that I need to cut this to the quick]
Lys: "Hi H. - I gotta make this quick. Think back - did you guys ever meet, sing for, something for the Lakers"
H.: "Maybe. We sang for a lot of things. I'm not really sure. Why?"
Lys: "Well MB isn't answering his phone and I didn't want to bug you but Kobe Bryant's here and I wanted to pass on your regards and my friend wants to meet him"
H.: "Sure! What are the Lakers doing there?"
Lys: "Playing the Magic, probably."
H.: "Wow." [H. rattles on and on and on - Utah, Cold, Snow, Weather, Sundance, blah blah blah]

Basically, I had to interrupt him to say "Hey let's catch up later" (TWICE) so that I could find a way to finagle a way for SL to meet the Lakers. And, as MB will testify - H. on the phone sometimes takes finesse to get him off the phone and not have your ear hurt. Especially since I haven't talked to him in over 6 months.

So, SL and I go into Starbucks and order and, as waiting for the coffee, here goes Kobe Bryant looking through the window. Again, he nods, smiles and walks away. 'Sall good. He's probably in the hotel. Then I see the most vile, annoying thing that placed Lamar Odom on my craplist for life.

Through the 'bucks window I see this older woman arriving in a cab to check in at the Westin. The Valet guy goes to help her get out of her car. See the Westin is good whereby they will give the BEST service to everyone - they don't care if you are a celeb or not. Here in Orlando, if you are spending a gaggle of $$$$ at their spot, you are royalty. As they are helping her out of the car, slipping behind her and bumping her out of the way is one Lamar Odom. I thought my eyes were deceiving me but no, Mr. Odom, earphones in his ears, bobbin' his head to the tunes is sittin' his 6'10" ass in the cab and the woman is standing there dumbstruck. She hasn't even GOTTEN HER BAGS OUT OF THE VEHICLE! And here he is motioning for the cab to move on. What the hell! The woman, thankfully, got her bags out of the trunk so his impatient ass could leave the hotel and do something. During this whole time, can I say he did not sign anything for fans, take pictures, nothing - he just was wearing some godawful hoodie, bobbin' his head and listening to his iPhone with a pissed off expression on his face.

Kobe, on the other hand, did NOT seem like an ass. As a matter of fact, I have a newfound respect for Kobe. He was pleasant, signing stuff and just all around nice. Sadly, I didn't get to meet him and talk for a hot minute and intro SL to him or pass along H.'s regards but oh well.

That evening, I get a call from MB inquiring as to my call earlier. I asked if H. and his family ever sang for the Lakers. I got a "NO!" and then I was told H.'s brother goes to the games but here I would have been saying "Hey H. and blah blah blah" when it really was his BROTHER that likes the Lakers. Note to self - ask MB - do NOT ask H. I should have known better. But I did want SL to meet a player because he was so excited. Oh well. It was for a good cause.

Finally, the next day as SL and I were making a return jaunt to the 'bucks I joked that he'd see some sights as the game was that night. Sure enough there were a gaggle of groupies waiting outside. Inside, the players wives were sitting in the super fancy restaurant and there were diamonds drippin' all over the place and lots of cocktails. I told SL that the wives aren't stupid - they understand the whole aspect of players/groupies and they are putting a halt to any groupie lovin' that might take place, but the wives were also enjoying themselves while the players were practicing.

Again, no Kobe and I might have made a few nasty comments to Lamar had I had seen his pushy gimme the taxi behind, but oh well.

So - that is our albeit brief encounter with sport celebs. And no, I'm still not a fan of the Magic (or the Lakers).

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Posted by Lys :: 6:45 PM :: 0 comments

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An Apology from Moi to You...

Many many MANY thanks to Erin over at ERIN COOKS who alerted me to an interesting fact - my feed was not showing up on people's readers. I don't check my feed on my own reader - because, quite honestly, I'm still behind on blogs I find. I even had to weed through my sidebar to see what blogs are active, what are dead - what ones are coming back (Y'all know who you are - this is my begging - PLEASE! :)), etc.

If y'all know me, I can program the time on my VCR, set up the electronics in my house and I am smart for a blonde yet when it comes to that damn DVD recorder that's collecting dust, I'm inept. I'm learning computers slowly. I'm not a whiz like my boy BR who is beyond technologically savvy. I'm still learning all the bells and whistles on the new 'puter and every day is a new revelation. Hell, it took me YEARS to learn how to cross crap out edit. I'm no HTML wiz by any means, but I get by. So when I heard my feeds were not burning, I jumped on Feedburner so quickly my own daggone head was spinnin'. Off to the help section, browsing, clicking, finding other people with issues, hitting up Bloglines F.A.Q., etc. etc. etc.

I think I fixed the problem, but I apologize for the 26 posts that showed up in people's feeds today. I seriously did not make up 26 posts yesterday. I'm yappy - but even I can't post 26 different items in a day. There's not that much in this blond brain of mine. I am, however, blogging daily for 365 days my friends - sometimes twice. It's the Na-Blah-Blah thing some people dared others to do (Hotfessional - you know I'm callin' you out, right?) and oy vey - fresh content daily has this gal's brain on overdrive. I even sit with my friends and when something happens, they'll comment "This would be GREAT for blog fodder, right?" Yeah - my friends are *ahem* special (jus' playin' - I lurve my friends. They are fabulous!)

I will have a fun post later today - promise, because it's in relation to something that happened last week and I've been meaning to blog about it. Let's just say it involves H., MB and a VERY tall man - well two. And yours truly wound up wearing flats. Go figure.

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Posted by Lys :: 12:35 PM :: 0 comments

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