Saturday, January 31, 2009

Video Blog | 1.31.09
Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes... ;)

Friday, January 30, 2009

1.30.09 | Video Blog
Paris + One on One with Tony Horton for the leg-burn win...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Difference Between "Impossible" and "Improbable"
Or, How A Drycleaner's 17 "Checks" Can FAIL

Let's face it, there are times in our life as consumers when wonky things happen.

A few years back, Deb bought me a pretty expensive electronic gadget at our local Target. I opened the box and, oops, turns out it was a "re-gift." Not by my lovely wife, mind you, but by the electronics manager at the store.

You see, some other person bought this item previously, took it home, pried it open, and tried to mod(ify) it. (Techies can probably guess what this was -- it starts with and ends with an X.) This person also liked to chew tobacco. How did I know this?

My new gadget was dusty, had pry marks on its plastic edges, all the screw hole stickers were removed, and the whole thing smelled exactly like... chew.

So, back to the store that very evening, and, after a 30 minute not-so-nice exchange with said manager -- who believed it was somehow my fault and not the 16-year-old who works over at the returns desk and didn't bother to open the box before giving this guy a refund and then returned it to his dept. and put back on the shelf for Deb to buy -- he finally saw the light of day and swapped it out for a truly un-opened, new version.

Excellent. Score one for the consumer.

Today, I confront a somewhat similar situation. There's a retailer involved -- an Apex drycleaner (who shall remain nameless pending the outcome of this farce) and me, a consumer.

When you drop off clothes at a drycleaner, you expect a few things.
  • Quick service - check.
  • Nicely pressed articles that are clean upon return - check number two.
  • And, heck, it goes without saying, you pick up your bagged items and WHAT'S INSIDE IS YOURS.
I think you see where this is going. Late December, back from the holidays, I dropped off three pairs of pants at this place -- two black, one brown. All three, sized 34 X 30.

Deb picked up these items about two weeks later and brought them home. In the bag, clear to see, were two pairs of black pants, and one brown. My pants, right? Into the closet, no need to wear 'em right away, some time goes by.

I finally get around to opening the bag early last week and, yep, color and number right, size and brands of two wrong -- 32 X 30 all three, one black matched my original pants' brand, and the remaining two were super-expensive Dokker's.

Not mine. Not any of 'em. Zip.

So, back to the store. And this new word pops up -- impossible: "Sir, it is impossible for this to happen. I can't help you."

Impossible, or improbable?

Impossible: not capable of occurring or being accomplished or dealt with; "an impossible dream"; "an impossible situation"

Improbable: not likely to be true or to occur or to have occurred; "legislation on the question is highly unlikely"; "an improbable event"

Clearly it's the latter. Not likely, but did.

So back and forth with the store manager, who somehow can't trace the yellow numbered tags that are his store's/still on the pants/but can't tell him who brought them in, but can say with certainty that this is "impossible" and can't ever, ever happen.

Confusion reigns. So, what to do.

I file a written complaint, which he gives to the real owner of his store, and here's the letter I get back, word for word, minus the identifying stuff, for now:

"Dear Mr. Mclain, (right off he forgets the capital L. Great.) We are sorry about the misundertand (huh?) of liability regarding your items. (Besides the obvious gaff, not sure I've heard the word or been told about liability -- but I can see where he's going. This is a manager who loves legal policies, and not doing the right thing for his customers.)"

"Once a garmet(s) is removed from the cleaner any loose or damage (what?) that accrues (is this somehow related to accounting? We're not talking about loose/damaged stuff. WRONG stuff.) to this item is no longer the responsibility of the cleaner. Furthermore, once the garmets are accepted - received by the customer (no closing dash, nice) it is impossible to police the handling of these garmets."

Wow, a nice start. So his policy is -- you took it home, doesn't matter if it's the wrong item. You keep it. Makes me wish I'd gotten someone's insanely expensive suit? Onward.

"I can personally assure you that the likely hood (oops!) of exactly the same brand items (for the record, ONE was the same brand, not all three, two were different) only a one size different (again, it's TWO sizes, not one) different is just not possible. (It just IS improbable, see definition above.) More over (two words?) these items were not packaged together (they were when I got them, one plastic wrapped order coming right up) or even at the same times or dates (huh?); items 33/80&78 were processed on Dec 10 08 (over a month ago) [hey, my calendar works the same as yours, how cool] and item 83/90 was processed on Jan 2 09. (Well well, those tags are traceable to dates, shame not an original slip or NAME at the TOP as well.)"

So... improbable that these pants all came together and were handed to me? Yep.

"In processing your garmets we have 17 different check points throughout (17 checks that all = FAIL, and when I get this guy on the phone I'll try to get him to list all 17 out, should be interesting) so something of this nature would not just slip by. (But did.) Second, once an item has been received, accepted and removed from the cleaner for 24 hours the liability remains with the customer."

Look, I just want my own darn pants. Either you hide behind your policies or you make the customer whole. Clearly, this guy is a policy man.

"We can have the garmets let out to 34 free of charge if you would like."

So, the remedy = keeping some dudes small pants, and getting them super-sized with some awesome stick marks up the back for everyone to see? Is this guy CALLING ME FAT, that somehow I'm trying to get him to buy me new pants cuz I'm a fatty? Sounds like a basis for expanding my complaint, no? LOL!

"This is a free service we offer our best customers and as a way to strive to go above and beyond in assisting your needs" (No period on the end.)

Free? Best Customers? Above and Beyond, Assisting my Needs? None of the above, thanks.

"We value you as a customer; (only if you follow our policies and the improbable doesn't occur!) appreciate your business (not) and thank you for your understanding (not X 2) in regards to this matter. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or write."

No sir, no.

I've left you three cell phone messages -- two voice, one call back number -- and to my home number, and the phone has been quiet. It's clearly impossible that he doesn't know how to check his voicemail. Or improbable?

So, out to the store before my trip to San Diego to replace my missing pants, keep the receipt, and consider filing a BBB complaint, check into small claims court, and start an online campaign to be sure anyone Googling this establishment hears about this?

Guess so. Heck, I just want my pants back. Someone out there has 'em, hanging in his closet, still in the bag. Two black, one brown, just the wrong size, 2 are the wrong brand, and the tags on 'em can't possibly be traced back to me.

More to come...
1.29.09 | Video Blog
Teachable Moments & TV Times a' Changing

February 2009 Teachable Moments Email Newsletter
From ProQuest... of course!

NBC 17 Station Tour w/Tiger Den
Photos @ FaceBook

Rock your Thursday folks... Signing off...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Video Blog | 1.28.09
Got your tickets?

Back and Biceps day, 100%, burned a ton of calories -- on with ProQuest Teachable Moments and Captioning the Taliban videos.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Video Blog | 1.27.09
Only have 60 secs? Good I'm... CUT

Back from ALA MidWinter in Denver (ProQuest booth photos here), P90X Plyometrics today, onward with the day...

Looks like Photo Booth limits recordings to 60 seconds -- excellent. Will help keep things short, sweet, and to the point!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mon. - Sun.
1.19.09 - 1.25.09

Mon. Workout: P90X Chest & Back (100%)
(Nailed all the moves, felt good, still wishing I had more energy for push ups beyond 15-17 reps.)
Burned: 850

Tue. Workout: P90X Plyometrics (100%)
(Pulled my left calf muscle -- ouch -- during circle run. Worked thru it!)
Burned: 900

Wed. Workout: P90X Shoulders & Arms (100%)
(Nearly pulled something in my left shoulder using my new 30 lb free weights, what is it with my left side? Calf is better, STILL have a painful muscle deep left middle side from December, and this. Felt better working through it, no trace now. Just sore... arms... good.)
Burned: Approx. 800

Thu. Workout: P90X Yoga X (110%)
(...had the most amazing Yoga P90X experience today -- did my ooooom's, spirits lifted to new heights, ready to tackle the day in a great mood!)
Burned: Approx. 750?

Fri. Workout: P90X Legs and Back (100%)
(Huge burn, BOOTY! Off to RDU @ 9, all day in the air, to Denver and ALA...)
Burned: 900

Sat. & Sun. Workout(s)
Sat.: One on One with Tony Horton Road Warrior (100%)
(Harder than I recall, great moves here in my small-ish Brown Palace Hotel room.)

Off to ALA Mid-Winter in Denver, standing in booth for many hours, shooting video of ProQuest customers, getting feedback, running around like a crazy man. All a good calorie burn.

Fun Tim fact for the week: One of the biggest pains of going to trade shows in the past = (for those sensitive to too much information, stop NOW... I warned you. Moving on...)

...fat legs rubbing together/friction, and its aftermath. Not to mention sore legs in general for being on my feet for 2-3 days, all days. Since starting Power 90/P90X/P90X+?

No sore legs. No rubbing, except... at the last show. And that's only because my legs are now round enough/muscled enough to make this happen. (Plus, bonus, no chafing, just muscle rubbin'.)

And that, my friends, is your Tim TMI moment for this week. Have a good one, stay warm, think of MLK and his contributions today, and let's all join together on Tue. to welcome our new POTUS. It can only... get... better... from here. ;)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes We Can: The Obama Years Begin

Here's what Wil Wheaton had to blog today, and I couldn't have said it better. So I'm stealing it...

I'm way too busy today to take time out and write the post that I wanted to write about Obama's inauguration, but I wanted to single out the part of President Obama's inaugural speech – a classy and necessary repudiation of the Bush years, I thought – that I was hoping to hear:

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

Can we have safety and still respect the rule of law? Yes, we can.

NOON: Obama in, Bush Out...
Let's celebrate!

Monday, January 19, 2009

TED Talk: Classical Music

Worth 20 minutes of your time. Trust me. Don't miss this!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

IT Guy vs. Sales Guy: Not Safe for Work (NSFW)

Don't miss 7:00 exactly onward to the end... LOL!

IT Guy Vs Dumb Employees - Watch more Entertainment

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pinewood Derby 2008 @ Pack 218

Mon. - Sun.
1.12.09 - 1.18.09

Mon. Workout: P90X Chest, Arms & Tricpes (100%)
(Push-ups all to failure, yikes, got a new idea for next time!)
Burned: Approx. 900

Tue. Workout: P90X Plyometrics (100%)
Burned: Approx. 900

Wed. Workout: P90X Back & Biceps (100%)
(My biceps really, really... hurt. 30lb freew's in the house.)
Burned: Approx. 850

Thu. Workout: P90X Yoga X (60% (Will sick/home!)
(Biceps still very sore, plus sore back, left side... Ouch.)
Burned: Approx. 700

Fri. Workout: P90X Legs and Back (100%)
(9 hours sleep last night, pushed it, felt a bit queasy...)
Burned: Approx. 900

Sat. Workout: P90X+ Kenpo Plus (100%)
(Nailed the workout, then off to Will's Pinewood Derby Races all day!)
Burned: Approx. 800

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wed. - Sun.
1.7.09 - 1.11.09

Wed. Workout: P90X Shoulders & Arms
Completion: 100% (with Bonuses BURN BURN!)
Burned: Approx. 800

Thu. Workout: P90X Yoga X
Completion: 100% (Shoulders were SORE, no more...)
Burned: Approx. 750?

Fri. Workout: P90X Legs & Back
Completion: 100% (Stomach ached, rough @ 35 mins to go!)
Burned: Approx. 900 (brought it to failure, esp. pull-ups)

Sat. Workout: P90X+ Kenpo Cardio Plus
Completion: 100% (Love... it)
Burned: Approx. 750 (Still wish it was more intense.)

Sun. Workout: P90X Stretch X
Completion: 100% (Love this one, will make it happen.)
Burned: Approx. 500ish?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Year in 40 Seconds

One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.
The new eLibrary -- from ProQuest

New eLibrary, larger format...

Another big release from ProQuest today, years in the making -- the all-new version of eLibrary. It's the way hundreds of thousands of students make the grade. And the new version is cleaner, easier to use, and full of our initial Web 2.0 tools -- including a timeline maker and much more.

Worth a look -- will post more videos as I make them in the coming weeks! And yes, that's my voice.

I love my job. for the work win.
Boy Meets Girl,
Boy Meets Database (from ProQuest/SIRS!),
Boy Helps Girl With Database,
the rest is history...

SIRS The Human Element

This is the first-ever animated feature made by our SIRS team at ProQuest. I'm proud to be the marketing guy to render it into Flash and post it online for the world to see! Will Max find a way to get his report done? Will Amy confess that she only like him because he's so good at using SIRS Researcher online?

Maybe. A great way to show students and teachers why having access to an editor-selected set of content is world's better than trying to use the open Web (Google anyone?) to do quality research.

Workout: P90X Plyometrics
Completion: 100% (with Bonuses)
Burned: Approx. 900

Wow, sore all around -- mildly -- and pushing myself hard. Not to exhaustion, but... close.

Watch the space above this post for some video goodness from ProQuest < the site I work on all day long.

We've announced today the all-new version of eLibrary and showing off our first Pixar inspired animated feature showing the "human element" behind our SIRS research databases. All good!

The new eLibrary interface has been in the works for 2+ years, while the animated feature took our SIRS team working with a creative guy about 8 months from start to finish, from planning to final version.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Chachi-rat loves Joanie-cat...

Rat Loves Cat - Watch the top videos of the week here


Workout: P90X Chest & Back
Completion: 100%
Burned: Approx. 800

Here we go -- first full week of being back on P90X post-holidays. Got 6 of 7 days in last week, and hitting 100% of the moves into this week as well. Lots of pull ups and push ups this Monday -- all done till I couldn't come UP even one more time. Muscle failure = good!?

Technically, I'm in the last third of my fourth P90X/+ round -- and will get in my fifth pre-summer. At least, pre-summer here = before the end of April?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

wingsuit base jumping from Ali on Vimeo.


Workout: P90X X Stretch
Completion: 100%
Burned: Approx. 500?

Here we go -- with dinner planned, here's the totals for calories down from 2,000 goal daily, and from the workouts. It's all a little rough this first go, but will keep being specific and accountable as the weeks progress.

Total Weekly Calorie Burn Goal: 3,500
(3,500 Calories = 1 pound)

Calorie Deficit (Food Alone)
Mon.: XXX | Tue: 445 | Wed: 350 | Thu: 400 | Fri: 225 | Sat.: 90 | Sun: 50
Rough Calories Total Deficit: 1560

Exercise Calorie's Burned
Mon.: XXX | Tue: 800 | Wed: 750 | Thu: 700 | Fri: 850 | Sat.: 800 | Sun: 500
Total Workouts: 4400

Mon. Weight: 196
Sun. Weight: 194

So far, the data lines up nicely. And with muscle being heavier than fat, should be interesting over the next 90 days.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Workout: P90X+ Kenpo Plus
Completion: 100% (w/Bonuses)
Burned: Approx. 800

Sammy's contribution as she walked across my keyboard: ;;;;222222222222222222222222k3,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,w
P90X Video

You've seen me doing this program for a year and a month now -- enjoy this short video to explain it all. P90X, bringing it, big time, in 2009.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Workout: P90X Legs & Back
Completion: 100% (w/Bonuses)
Burned: Approx. 850

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Workout: P90X Yoga X
Completion: 100% (w/Bonuses)
Burned: Approx. 700

Great way to start the new year -- the first true 100% completion of Yoga X since my first round last January. Excellent!