Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dear Brick & Mortar stores

Sometimes I want to pick something up and touch it before I buy it. Sometimes I want it right then. Those are times I go to brick and mortar stores.

My hope is, if things go well, that I walk out if your shop with less money, a smile, and a bag of stuff I went to get.

You know what I don't need to do? Go to your store and be told you don't think those sell well enough to stock but you can order shipped directly to the store at no cost and I can pick it up... some time.

No. I know how to order things and I can also have them delivered to ME and not have to go BACK to your store that didn't have what I wanted in the first place.

So, I get it, you instruct your helper monkeys to offer that service, but seriously, I'm holding a smart phone in my hand. I'm showing you your own website that says you have it. I know how the Internet works.

I also know I have never and will not ever, let a brick and mortar order something for me that I have to go back to get. At least offer to ship it to me. I'll still say "no," but at least it'll appear you're trying to be convenient for me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Review: Alpha Defense Gear Jacket

After the complete crapstorm that was geek hoodies, no link provided because I can't find a single person who has had a good experience with them and find SCORES of complaints about substandard product shipped months late, I was hesitant to buy clothes online again. I like to hold clothes in my hands, look at the seams, look at the quality, make sure I'm not buying some piece of crap that takes 71 days to get to me. (Can you tell GeekHoodies left a sour taste in my mouth? I really can't say enough bad things about the experience I had with them.)

But I saw Alpha Defense Gear and thought I'd give them a try. This time I looked at reviews and they were good. What I was looking at was the Alpha Defense Poly-Tech Soft Shell Jacket but I didn't want to jump into an eighty dollar jacket without seeing the quality and speed of their products. So, I did a test order of some face shields. They arrived in about a week and are really nice... REALLY nice. So, while I thought about it I got a coupon for a Jacket, a t-shirt, some face shields, and a baseball cap for less than the cost of the jacket. Well, I bought it and crossed my fingers.

I needn't have worried. It arrived in about a week. The build quality was outstanding. Today was nice out, 49F and 11mph winds so I went for a walk with the new jacket and it was great. It blocked the wind and kept me super warm. Keeping the wind off me was a big help. Now, it's not a jacket that "breathes" so don't wear it running. Jackets that breathe, and I have one, are great if it's not windy. Wind cuts right through those breathing jackets. This jacket is a wind stopper. A brisk walk, really brisk walk, a jog to some people, had me warm and the jacket kept the wind off me perfectly. I could zip & unzip it to moderate the temperature and I was really happy with it.

The zippers and zipper pulls seem well made and are stylish as well. You can't go wrong with this company or this Alpha Defense Poly-Tech Soft Shell Jacket. Huge fan.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Review: Geekhoodies

I recently ordered a hoodie from an ad I saw on Facebook. They looked cool and I needed a hoodie. My classic gray was getting threadbare and I thought something a little more stylish would be okay and the price wasn't bad with the promotional price they offered on their Facebook ad.

I ordered one based on Assassins Creed on November 10th, 2016. Why am I including the year? Well, that becomes important.

It took a while, but on November 24th, two weeks later, I got an e-mail saying it had shipped... from China. Well shit.

Finally! I'd hoped to have it during sweatshirt season in Iowa and that was rapidly coming to an end as real coat weather arrived.

And then I waited.

And waited.

And waited. You've heard the expression something was coming "on a slow boat from China?" Well, that's more than a saying. It's a real thing.

January 20th, 2017 -- 71 days after I ordered it the hoodie arrived. The size was right. Sadly the material was stained/damaged/discolored in several spots, faded like it'd rubbed against something bleachy while folded?

So, if you're wandering around on a site and see an ad from geekhoodies you may have better luck than I did, but I got a badly made product over two months after I ordered it. I can't recommend them. I didn't contact them to see about having them fix this because, quite frankly, by the time a replacement arrived even if I could find someone in China who was willing to address the problem, it would be after sweat shirt season was over and the whole experience has left a bad taste in my mouth. So, it went from mailbox to house to take a picture of it and then to the dumpster. If you're feeling like throwing away twenty bucks do it on something like delicious tacos.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Skyrim: Adoption & Why I can't parent

Skyrim is an amazing game that's six years old and still going strong. It features a civil war between the Empire and some rebels. You aren't really a "hero" in the game as you, if you play it all the way through, wind up being head of the thieve's guild and head of the assassin's guild in addition to being in charge or a bunch of werewolves who only gain levels by eating the bodies of those they have killed. All in all... it's a little morally gray area here. Maybe those people you assassinated needed it? Grelod the Kind was a heinous person to run the orphanage. If anybody was asking for it she was.

The problem with wars, civil and otherwise, is they make orphans. And orphans need adopting. So, with the Hearthfire expansion, Skyrim added the ability to adopt orphans to the game and the orphans actually talk and interact with you, their parent. They talk and interact with each other as well. Sometimes I'll come home from a long day adventuring and find them in the living room arguing. I'll tell them both to stop and send them to their room. Eventually they stopped fighting. They could learn! The AI in the game took into account my behavior and changed THEIR behavior.

Then I lost my game due to carelessness and had to start over. Dangit! My poor orphaned kids! Wait. What else did they program the AI to do? What else will the Skyrim programmers let my kids learn? I wonder.

Enter The Prince and the Frog. Up above you see the Prince. I adopted him. Next is the Frog. I adopted him as well and so began an experiment. Remember, these are new kids. They hadn't learned not to argue yet. So, I started off with them in my home and they would argue and I would discipline only the Frog. The Prince I would give a sweet roll to. Periodically they will come up to me and ask me for money. The Frog gets nothing. And as soon as I'm done with the "I don't have any money" dialog I tell him to do chores. The Prince I give the maximum amount of money allowed in the game, every time.

The game has a functionality where you can play games like tag or hide and seek with the kids. When I play hide and seek with the Frog as soon as he hides I leave and never look for him, leaving him out there in the cold, perhaps being chased by a giant or a dragon! I dunno. Meanwhile I continue to shower the Prince with gifts of sweets, new clothes, toy swords, money, books, all he could possibly want. The Frog gets nothing.

Well, almost nothing. I recently gave him a dagger. An enchanted soul stealing Dragonbone Dagger. Now, if he wants what his brother has he has a way of getting it. All he has to do is use the dagger and it's all his.

Meanwhile, I don't sleep at home any more. It's not safe. He has a dagger.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Review: Grip6's web belt and buckle

I have bought two things through Facebook ads. One, a hoodie, was over a month ago, well over, and it's still not here from China. I may never see it. I couldn't be less happy with that company.

The second item was a web belt from https://grip6.com. I wore my first web belt in the US Navy and fell in love with them. When I saw the Facebook ad show up, doubtless as a creepy result of Facebook cookies noticing I'd been recently searching for web belts, I liked the look of the buckle on the grip6 belt. It had no moving parts.

The price was right and I was willing to try a Facebook ad again. This product is made in the USA and it arrived in about a week. Christmas was in there messing with mail times and it still arrived quickly.

It's a fantastic belt and the buckle, a curved piece of metal with two slots in it, is nice looking, sturdy, and sits flush against my pants so I don't get that weird belt buckle bump if my shirt isn't tucked in.
It looks great and is an excellent product. I initially thought the webbing too thin because it's thinner than what I was used to in the Navy buy it works fine and it being thinner means the belt isn't bulky looking/feeling at all.

I'm ordering another of these. I can't say enough good things about the quality, speed, and price. They are all outstanding.