Bar Hopping

Posted in Misanthropy on February 21st, 2002 by Дмитрий

It was an alarmingly nice day today, and the smell in the air on my commute home was almost reminiscent of May or June. It put me in an alarmingly good mood, so much so that I decided to take a rare weeknight trip to one of Fresno’s less offensive pubs to have a couple glasses of sin before bed.

Now why is it that jerks at bars can always sense the people that are just there to zone out and enjoy themselves, and always manage to ruin a perfectly good mood accompanied by a second pint of Newcastle? Anyway, I cut my outing short in order to avoid this unpleasant element. Reminds me why I don’t really go out very often anymore - especially alone.

But tomorrow I’m gonna see David, and since that’s what’s really getting me through the week, I’m over the unpleasantness already.

Hi-Tech Unlimited

Posted in Fresno, Misanthropy on May 21st, 2002 by Дмитрий

Talk about horrible customer service skills. The latest company on the black list: Hi-Tech Unlimited . I have been perusing ebay for an 8mm VCR, since I wanted to start doing some more tricks with the video I’ve been taking at shows, etc. I was mainly curious as to whether the prices on ebay were fair for used items, since new ones tend to be Hi8 and very hi-end as well. I wanted an inexpensive consumer-grade model.

So I call up Hi-Tech Unlimited, and politely ask if they have 8mm VCRs. Here’s an approximate run-down of the conversation:

  • Me: “Hi, I was wondering if you guys have any 8mm VCRs?” 
    Asshole: “Maybe.”
  • (long pause)
  • Me: “Uhmm… Do I have to come in to see?”
  • Asshole: “Well, no. But you need to do the research and tell me an exact model number and brand.”
  • Me: “Well, I just kinda needed a regular video8 VCR that I can hook up to a monitor and another VCR. I’m not picky…”
  • Asshole (in nagging condescending voice): “Well, you need to find out what model will meet your needs, and then I can check what we can do for you. If you want us to do your research for you, it’s going to be $50.00 per hour.”
  • Me: “You don’t just have any around that I could look at?”
  • Asshole: [sighs heavily] “You’ll need to call back when you know what you want.” [hangs up]

Not only does it seem like a bad idea to be rude to new customers, it seems like a bad idea to hang up on them as well. No wonder they’re still warehoused in such a dumpy building. Anyone up for a drive-by? If I was being presumptuous thinking they had stuff lying around, he could have just said, “we’re a catalogue company. We need to know the exact product.” I guess I just don’t see why people (in the service sector ) have to be assholes when there really was no provocation…

Social Networking and Popularity Contests

Posted in Misanthropy on January 17th, 2006 by Дмитрий

I know I needn’t complain about things I needn’t subject myself to, but I notice a large number of people - on LiveJournal, MySpace, all the social-networking sites - tend to collect ‘friends’ numbering in the 100s… If you use your journal/site to advertise your music/work I can see this, as it allows you to individualize your advertising and be better at ‘direct marketing’. But I doubt this many people are actually advertising their shows or art with their weblog/site. Rather, as someone mentioned in my previous post, it seems like a popularity contest.


I don’t really care much for popularity - I’ve never been very popular, and I doubt I ever will. The key for me is that I only have so much room for ‘friends’ - meaning people I want to interact with either in person or online.


The Economist had an article about evolution in their Xmas issue, which alluded to the idea that in ‘real life’, humans tend to aggregate into bands of about 150, even in our post-hunter-gatherer world. We tend to lose touch with distant relatives if we have a large immediate family, and lose track of old friends when we make new ones. In most cases, I tend to scoff at arguments for the hard-wiredness of human behavior. What I do agree with, however, is that the scope of a human’s ability to remember faces and quickly recall data about a person’s character and history is limited.


Technology has widened the scope of our ability to maintain contact with distant people, and better-enabled us to communicate and forge bonds with people we would otherwise not know at all. However, it does little in the way of help us better manage the masses of personal information we are inherently capable of managing.


I’ve got several dozen friends and family that are not online, and if you add in the people who have websites outside of the social networking sites, I’d say there is room for 75-100 interesting souls that I could keep up with and genuinely care about knowing. That’s why I tend to revise my contact lists often - when I find new people I want to keep up on, I have to decide whether I want to keep up with them more than the more marginal members of my existing list.


This is why when I see someone who is not a DJ/musician/artist/shopkeeper who has like 1000 people in their ‘friends’ list, I simply wonder ‘why?’.