I guess to those of you in New York, it would be Day of the Toikey. Well either way, I hope it’s a happy one. I thought I would sit down here on the sofa and write a little post to fill everyone in on what’s been going on lately. It’s nice to have a family day with Step and the girls. We don’t have the boy this week, but it’s still cozy. We’ve historically always gone to the parents’ houses or to be with extended family, but today we decided to stay home and have our own intimate little turkey eating experience.
I haven’t had internet connectivity at home over the last few months, and working the odd hours and schedules that I work now haven’t had the time or the passion to update the site. I brought home a modem last night from the Clear guy to try it out and see what kind of connectivity and speeds I get, and was amazed at how the first thing I wanted to do was write a post on the Brew. Lucky you.
And of course, having the capability now breeds new emotion and I find my passion for web design rearing its head again. Translated loosely, I see an entire site redesign here in the new future. Maybe I’ll even get some of my old writers back. Get this thing going again. Orange you excited? I yam. I will admit it’s been a little bit of a drag having all my computers set up and no internet connection. Having to drag my towers to buddies’ houses to activate and update is a pretty big pain in the ass. So all you who take your internet for granted should cease and desist now.
So I’ve been working most of this year at Geek Squad, which is a far cry different than working the kind of desk jockey IT jobs I’m used to. It is retail, but I really quite enjoy the human interaction. For the most part. You do get the occasional client coming in who still calls his CPU the ‘modem’ or ‘hard drive’. And of course there’s (about once a day) the client who thinks it’s funny to call me a geek. “So are you one of them there geeks?” Yes sir, that’s what they call me. And his question is always followed by raucous hearty laughter. Which I liken to telling the cashier at a grocer that if there’s no price on it, it’s free. But each of these thinks he is the king of original comedy.
Let me clarify, I am not in the least offended by being called a geek. I work for Geek Squad. Why would it be an insult? No, it’s just that the way these people say it with such fervor, it’s like they think I haven’t heard it, and it’s some new idea they just spontaneously came up with. Whatever. And of course in retail I deal plenty with the people who bought their computers at Best Buy and think that Best Buy manufactured them. And threaten to take their business elsewhere if I don’t replace it for them because they downloaded the koobface trojan and destroyed their operating system.
Speaking of viruses, I am still amazed how wildly popular Norton is as far as protection software goes. People come in every day saying their computers aren’t working right. And when I tell them they are infected, they say, “But I’ve got NORTON!” Yeah, so did the other three thousand people up on that virus board. And that’s precisely the reason you are here today. Same with McAfee. It’s sad that Norton is still the most popular antivirus software in the world even though they continually just suck.
I’ve learned a few other things working retail at the world’s foremost electronics depot. I can tell you everything you need to know about televisions now. Plasma, LED, LCD, 1080p, 120hz, backlit, HDMI, etc. You see, I took this job (for which I was technically overqualified) with the same intentions I had with every other high-end job I’ve ever taken. I treated it as though it was the best thing I’ve ever had. I’m ever passionate about performance no matter where I am. So I decided not only to get certified in the computer department, but the whole damn store. If I was going to work here and sell shit, I was going to learn every detail about every item in the entire store.
I took over a hundred learning lounges, training courses and a whole slew of certification tests so I could tell someone why a front-load washer is better than a top-load, the advantages of a bottom mount refrigerator, a HEPA vacuum cleaner, the advantages of plasma over LCD or vice-versa depending on your usage, the best and the worst of the processors in all the computers, all the specs, the transfer rates of USB 2.0 and firewire, eSATA, iPod, Zune, Sansa, and every other damn thing in the entire store. I wanted to be an authority on every single thing someone could ask me about.
The problem with this is that I got voted the MVP of the entire store after three months. Well that’s cool. They expect more of me – which is fine – but that means that I’ll never ever get a Saturday off ever again, not ever. I have to train all the newhires, I’m the goto guy if anyone has any technical questions, and I broke the curve for anyone coming in expecting an easy ride. Now they require everyone gets certified in every department. Which I’m also cool with because it breeds excellence in our store. But now I spend a lot of my week sitting with other employees helping them to answer their questions on their certifications and teaching them the difference between an f 2.8 aperture and an f 20, the advantages of a bounce flash over a popup, and why a Nikon is better than a Canon SLR any day of the week.
I’m not trying to brag, understand – I’m just saying that if I’m going to bother to do something, I’m going to do it right. I studied and learned everything I could learn about everything so I could never be stumped. Anyone could do that, if they cared enough. Problem is most of the kids who work there are still in high school, or early twenties and don’t care about working yet. They have no pride in what they do. They call in sick. I take their hours. They show up late. I get the good donuts before they get there.
So I’ve written a thousand words about working at Best Buy. If you’ve read all my columns on this here site, you’ll see I have bashed the retailer in earlier postings. Historically I’ve not been happy with the way they ran things and treated customers. Maybe I’m setting out to change all that.
A lot of you know I ran off to Treasure Island and got married in August. Two-Step and I tied the knot (though it’s more like a halyard bend than a slippery hitch knot) and made it official. With a new little bug running around (who is now six months old), it was appropriate that she not be illiterate. A lot of you also know that Copperwound broke up. I just couldn’t get anyone in the band to care about it as much as I did. Damn shame too, because we had some good music. Not to worry though, I’ll be starting a new project soon – something entirely different, and entirely from scratch. I’ve already started writing some of the new music, and let me just say one thing: John Mayer need an opening act?
Well that’s really about all I have to say. I hope I didn’t bore you all to tears (all three of you) with my droning rant about work. I’ll leave you with a few takeaways though. The New John Mayer album is great. The new Norah Jones album is different. She wrote most of the songs on it now, so it’s a different flavor than her other three. Nvidia over Radeon. Intel over AMD. Nikon over Canon. Windows 7 over Vista. Samsung over Sony Bravia. Oh. And the new Chris Cornell album Scream is not the Chris Cornell you’re used to, but it’s one of the top five best albums ever recorded in the history of ever. Seriously. Find it. Buy it. Listen to it. Love it. Report back to me.
Happy thanksgiving, friends, fans and foes. I hope you get everything you want for Christmas this year. And if you want to help me get everything I want, I do indeed have a Best Buy Pitch-In gift card. Look me up.