Saturday, December 29, 2007

Coming In 2008...

Another year is coming to an end. It's a time when one examines his or her life and resolves to make a change for the better. To turn over a new leaf. Last year, I resolved to not make any resolutions. I'm happy to say I spent the entire year with new resolutions.

This year will be different. I am making some resolutions. Nothing spectacular, just a few run of the mill resolutions.

The first one is one of the most popular. I'm going to exercise more. I won't say I want to lose weight, because for some reason, I've maintained my current weight for the last five years. No matter what I eat or how active I am, I seem to have plateaued. So my resolution is to exercise more. Get in some kind of better shape. I'm not talking Mr. Olympia here. I'd just like to walk from my car to the front door without getting winded.

My next resolution is to post something here every day. I know, that seems ridiculous. But it's not impossible. If I'm able to keep this one, then there will probably be more than a few days that have really short posts. But at least they'll be posted.

A friend tells me I should resolve to be more social. She has a valid point. I'm not very social. Mostly because I choose not to make the time to be social with people. Here I am working on my masters degree in a new town. And in the four months since I moved here, I've made one friend. Don't get me wrong, I have other friends that live in this area, but I have one new friend. That's it. I'm not one to strike up conversations with strangers, but maybe I should be.

So that's three. I think that's more than enough for 2008. Remember to tune in daily for new updates. In the mean time, have a safe and happy New Year's Eve.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Family Away From Family

Did anyone else have fun this week? 'Cause I sure did. See, a good friend, Jen, was in town from California to spend Christmas with her family. So I not only got to hang out with someone I see maybe once a year, but also felt like I was a part of a family here in good ol' Wake Forest.

Have you heard of or played the PS2 game SingStar? 'Cause it's awesome! I went over to the Greene-house after work last Saturday and was immediately engrossed in '80s karaoke competitions. I had to take a break while I went to Roanoke for Christmas, but then I came back and was introduced to the Pop and Rock versions of SingStar. Also awesome. Also, they got a PS3 for Christmas. So I was also introduced to Call of Duty 4.

Anyway, I want to thank the Hamiltons and Greenes for making me feel like part of the family while I'm here in school. Actually, there's no way I could really say thank you enough for all they've done since Dad passed away, and especially since I moved here. Okay, I'm gonna go catch up on some sleep kids. Good night everybody.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tales from the Qwik Pack & Ship - Chapter 6

Here's another example of my favorite kind of customer. This woman comes in here with nothing to send, only a complaint. She was apparently in here several weeks ago and sent a small package through the Postal Service. Also, she remembers me as the one who helped her. I have no memory of her or her package, but I think that's understandable. It's been several weeks and in the past two weeks we've had more customers than I've seen in the entire 3 and a half months prior combined. I digress...

Apparently, this package that was taken to the Post Office by us, after she paid us to ship it, never arrived at its destination. Luckily, New Owner came through in the clutch. He took over and talked to her while I helped another impatient customer.

Now, the Complaint Lady wasn't rude. She was polite and I think she ultimately understood that once the package leaves our hands, whether that be through UPS, FedEx or the Post Office, it's no longer our responsibility. Really, if someone has a problem with a shipment, especially if it's the fault of the Postal Service, then one should go directly to the Post Office and voice the complaint there. Again, we're just a middle man. Basically, people come to us for convenience sake. If it becomes inconvenient, then go to the source.

I'm not saying people should use our services. 'Cause then I'd be out of a job and New Owner and Wife would have made a poor investment. I guess what I am saying though, is that if it were me, I'd rather save a few bucks and stand in line at the post office or the UPS Store. But again, that's just me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tales from the Qwik Pack & Ship - Chapter 5

You know what bugs me? When customers come in here, do their business, then complain when they get to the cash register and find out we charge more than the post office does. They complain when we charge more than the quote they got from

Guess what... We're not the United States Postal Service. We're not UPS or FedEx or DHL. We're a privately owned business that acts as the middle man so you don't have to inconvenience yourself by standing in line for 3 hours at the real post office. In reality, the owners of this store could charge whatever the heck they want.

Now, I'm not saying I see any of this money. I mean, I'm getting $7.00 an hour for this career move. But seriously, if you don't like the mark-up, go to the UPS Store or the actual post office. Personally, I get the fact that we charge 4 cents more per stamp. Why? 'Cause we're the ones that have to deliver your bills and letters and Christmas cards to the real post office. And have you seen the price of gas lately? Not cheap to drive across town.

I'm pretty sure that no one reading this has ever been a customer in this store. But remember, when your shopping this holiday season and feel like complaining about the cost, don't take it out on the lowly sales clerk. They have no control over the price. They just charge whatever price the computer spits out at them.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Just a Little Something I Did

Here's one I've never seen before
I give you money and send you into the grocery store to pick up 5 items. You can only pick one thing from the following departments.. what is it?
1. Produce: Bananas
2. Bakery: Hoagie rolls
3. Meat: Deli Turkey
4. Frozen: Cool Whip
5. Dry goods: Fritos (are those dry goods?)

Let's say we're heading out for a weekend getaway. You're only allowed to bring 3 articles of clothing with you. So, what's in your bag?
1. A shirt
2. Boxers
3. Jeans

If I were to listen in on one of your conversations throughout the day, what 5 phrases or words would I be most likely to hear?
1. Awesome!
2. Seriously...
3. Are you kidding me?
4. That's what she said...
5. I don't care

So, what 3 things do you find yourself doing every single day, and if you didn't get to do, you probably wouldn't be in the best mood?
1. Caffeination
2. Food
3. Some fiction

Sweet, you just scored a whole afternoon to yourself. We're talking a 3 hour block with nobody around. What 5 activities might we find you doing?
1. A movie
2. A book
3. PlayStation
4. Wii
5. Nap

We're going to the zoo. But, it looks like it could start storming, so it'll have to be a quick visit. What 3 exhibits do we have to get to?
1. Lions
2. Monkeys of some kind
3. Otters

You just scored tickets to the taping of any show that comes on TV of your choice. You can pick between 4, so what are you deciding between?
1. How I Met Your Mother
2. Lost
3. Heroes
4. Chuck

You're hungry for ice cream. I'll give you a triple dipper ice cream cone. What 3 flavors can I pile on for you?
1. Vanilla
2. Vanilla
3. ...Vanilla... not exciting, I know...

Somebody stole your purse/wallet --in order to get it back, you have to name 5 things you know are inside to claim it. So, what's in there?
1. Driver's License (which should really be sufficient, and yet...)
2. Bank of America card
3. Social Security Card
4. Kroger Plus card
5. Student ID

You are at a job fair, and asked what areas you are interested in pursuing a career in. Let's pretend you have every talent and ability to be whatever you wanted, so what 4 careers would be fun for you?
1. Photojournalist
2. Singer/Songwriter
3. Novelist
4. Teacher

If you could go back and talk to the old you, when you were in high school, and inform yourself of 4 things, what would you say?
1. Study a little more. That extra .01 on your GPA will get you a scholarship slacker!
2. Don't get discouraged by the amount of work in the Elementary Ed major, stick with it.
3. Boston's gonna win the World Series in 2004. I know it sounds unbelievable, just trust me. Put a lot of money on Boston at the beginning of the season. It'll pay off.
4. It doesn't matter who she is, don't bother. She's not interested.

And for anyone that needs something to do, I challenge you. So there.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Karate Kid

When I was at the mall last week picking up my tux, I ran into a karate instructor. He wasn’t trying to sign me up for classes, ‘cause he could tell I was a fatty and wouldn’t be into that kind of thing. Instead he asked me to take a short survey. I figured, why not?

Question 1: If you were to take a martial arts class, what would be your motivation: self-defense or fitness?

Really? Those are my only options? What if I just wanna beat people up?

Question 2: Would you recommend martial arts classes as a way to keep in shape for adults?

Honestly, no, but I said yes anyway. The tux was starting to get heavy.

Question 3: Do you know anyone in the area that may be interested in taking a martial arts class?

I don’t know… Do you offer the crane technique? According to Mr. Miyagi, if done correctly, no can defense. If so, sign me up.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tales From the Qwik Pack & Ship, Chapter 4

The new owners didn’t think there would be a lot of business on a Saturday. What they didn’t think of, was that this is the Saturday before the Saturday before Christmas. Let me just tell ya, we were slammed. Correction: I was slammed.

Things were slow at first. 10am rolled around, I opened shop, and had no business. Fifteen minutes passed, and I had two customers, one dropping off a pre-paid package, one buying stamps. Another fifteen minutes passed. Then all of Wake Forest decided to ship their Christmas gifts at once.

Sidebar: Let’s talk about the sweet Little Old Lady from Youngsville that came in early in the day. She slowly makes her way through the door, using a walker, and places her package on the counter. I’m polite, as I am with all customers (even throughout the day when I’m the only one there and 10 impatient people are lined out the door), and she proceeds to tell me how to do my job. For some reason, she thinks I’m doing it wrong. I weighed her parcel wrong. I measured it wrong. I even priced it wrong. Except I didn’t really do those things wrong. I did them right. And then she stole my pen. Not the store’s pen, mine! I thought about saying something, but seriously, how many of you would reprimand an old lady with a walker?

Toward the end of the day my new boss comes in and begins to help with the plethora of customers. Meanwhile, his brother takes some things to the post office which desperately need to be sent out today. So we’re working, finally getting some kind of groove going, whittling down the customers one by one. Then his cell rings. The boss’ brother is lost somewhere in Lewisburg. So what happens then? You guessed it: the boss is on the phone for about half an hour talking his brother back to Wake.

At one point, when I was still alone, several of the customers struck up a conversation with each other. They remarked about how calm I was under such a stressful situation. After I dropped a packing slip, one of them said, “I bet if he drops another one he’ll just snap. He’s gonna go postal!”

No, I didn’t go postal. But I can easily see how people could. I’m one of those people that doesn’t show if I’m getting stressed out unless I can help it. Instead I bottle things up and release when I’m in private. So when I was boxing things up for people in the back, where no one saw me, that’s when I would mutter some trash talk under my breath. Especially if, while in the back, I heard the door open, signaling the arrival of yet another customer.

Well, the Saturday before the Saturday before Christmas is over. For a time I thought the new boss would ask me to keep the store open ‘til 4:00. I don’t think I could’ve said no emphatically enough.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Some Thoughts

These blog posts seem fewer and farther between, huh? Here's why I haven't written lately: FINALS. That should sum it up. My first semester in seminary is done. Overall I think I did okay. Walked away from Hebrew with an A, can't complain about that. Not sure about the others, but I know I passed. So at least I didn't crash and burn, always a plus. On top of that, I've been getting a lot of extra hours at work this week because of the holiday rush. All these people want their packages to get somewhere by Christmas. Next week should be crazy in the world of Qwik Pack & Ship. I should have a few tales to tell, stay tuned.

I went to a wedding last week. Well, I didn't go to a wedding. I was in a wedding last week. One of my best friends, Brandon Caldwell, took his vows. I was one of his two best men. Exciting times. Mark (my co-best man) and I had to give the traditional toast at the reception. I think it was pretty funny. We got some laughs. I caught the garter. Again. I'm 2 for 2 now. That's gotta be some kind of omen.

I'm reading an interesting book right now. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a pretty big geek. I'm sure I've blogged about it several times. That's what geeks do, we blog about the geeky things we're interested in. Anyway, I'm reading The Last Days of Krypton. It's a novel about the last days of Krypton. I mean, if the title doesn't give that away, there's not much hope for you. Those not embracing their inner-geek may not be aware that Krypton is Superman's doomed homeworld. It's a really good book, but something struck me today as I was reading. Jor-El (Superman's father) picks up a signal from a character who comes to be known as the Martian Manhunter in the comics. In his message he talks about being the sole survivor of the planet Mars. Why would he refer to his homeworld as Mars? Mars is the name that we humans gave to the red planet years and years ago. Named after the Greek god of war. I know it's a moot point, being fiction and all, but still, I think about these things.

More to come...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tin Man

I'm a big fan of The Wizard of Oz. So several months ago, when I heard the Sci Fi Channel was making an updated version of the classic tale, I was intrigued. Finally, Sunday night, the mini-series Tin Man began. It lasted three nights and I thought it was pretty good. Not great, but good.

It was an interesting take on the old L. Frank Baum children's story. D.G. is the main character (get it? Dorothy Gale?) and finds herself swept away by a travel storm to the Outer Zone (get it? O.Z.?). She does meet the Munchkins, but this ain't the Lollypop Guild. She meets a man who's missing a brain, but this ain't a scarecrow. She meets someone known as a "Tin Man" but here it means he's a cop, not a lumberjack. And the Cowardly Lion... not so much a lion as a mutant, hairy, psychic guy. Not your father's Wizard.

I need to pose a question to you, my three faithful readers. Some time ago I had an idea for a continuation of the Oz story. A story where Dorothy was grown up and deemed slightly insane because of her wild stories of Oz in her childhood. She's almost convinced that Oz wasn't real, but then she's violently pulled back. Lots of crazy things happen, as it's a darker world now which reflects Dorothy's insanity. So my question is this: Should I even bother writing this?

It almost seems that the landscape is being saturated with new takes on Oz, first with Wicked, now with Tin Man. Would one more book even make a difference? Or would it just blend into the woodwork? I mean, it's something I've been working on when I've had some spare time, so I'm not sure that it would even get published. Anyway, I await your thoughts. Feel free to comment below.