Monday, January 27, 2014

Shame on me and some football

Geeeezzzee. Has it really been 2 months? No, it's been 2 months and 4 days. #shameonme
Not sure how it happened. Or I do - I was too busy, then I was too lazy, then I forgot. And when I remembered I felt too guilty to come back, thinking "It's too late anyway". Happens to everybody, right?...

So sorry, bloggy. I missed you. And I am back.

The good news is - while not physically putting a single post together, I had at least a dozen of imaginary ones in my head. Hoping my twent-something-not-yet-thirty mind will be on my side and help me remember all the things I couldn't wait to share and document here.

How about this one? Footbal. Do not confuse with this football. They like to call it soccer here, but we all know the truth.

I could never understand why a game where a bunch of tough-a$$ guys running around with gigantic plastic shoulder-pads and throughing an oval ball with their hands is called FOOTball. Me and the rest of the world, I dare say.

It only took me 6,5 years of life in this country to sit through an entire game of (American) footbal and realize that there is some foot kicking involved. And there's a lot of running, which actually doesn't seem so easy at all. So for now I am content with this explanation.

True, Americans are into sports in general. Some are into baseball, a lot are into basketball, a very few are into hockey, and EVERYONE is into football. This is not exaggerated at all. If you walk into a bar that has a dozen of TV screens, and there happens to be a football game on - most of the TV's will be tuned into that channel.

To profess their love for their favorite team and their favorite game people do all kinds of things -

Paint their faces

Decorate/destroy their car paint

Dress up as candy

Think their baby is a football

Celebrate football with an event of the year

...and this year, I am actually looking forward to watching the game, and not just the commercials and a half-time show.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hi. How can I [not] help?

Just when I was about to write this post and rant about an average Customer Service experience, I found the image above, and it sums it up.

I'm sure you have been there at least one (or a dozen) times in your life. You desperatly need help with whatever issue you have, dialing a 1-800 number hoping to get a human on the other end of the cord, going into details, pouring your heart out, even addressing them by their name. And all you get is "I understand, I'm sorry, but I cannot help".

The options they give you are in a range of something a 5 year old could figure without having to call them or the answer that is listed on the FAQ page. Basically, not the one you were hoping to get. I don't know about the rest of people's reactions, but CS expeiences like that make me want to cry, ask them "Why don't you love me?" and yell out "Don't be a robot" all at the same time.

That is not to say that some Customer Service reps have been nice and/or helpful to me on a number of occasions, but once bad experience like that erases all the good memories of them from my brain.

Oh, and how much do you love the "Is there anything else I can do for you today?" standard, almost automatic, soul-less phrase at the end of the conversation?.. I find it at least insulting.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Political Correctness

politically correct
A way that we speak in America so we don't offend whining pussies.

The other day two hosts of a radio show mentioned how America has changed and the always present political correctness has become so dominating it's hard to communicate openly and honestly anymore. Now I myself have no idea the way America was 50 years ago, heck I'm not sure what it was like here before 2006, but it's clear to me that for the most part people DO filter their messages. Like, a lot.

One of the hardest adjustments I had to make was learning to watch my mouth and keep 1/3 of my thoughts to myself. In most cases, unless you're in your own kitchen and/or surrounded by your family, you should not say all the truth about how you feel. Just because. Being "politically correct" about anything and everything is the number one rule of successful communication.

Considering that the speaking manner in my native language is pretty direct and informal, trust me when I tell you it was quite the change for me. Just to give you a quick run-down of the cases where you have to extra careful choosing your words (if speak on the subject at all) are the ones that have to do anything with:


and some less known/recognized:

your management
your co-workers
someone else's children
anything to do with money
psychological conditions


[everything else that might displease anyone for any reason]

In short, watch your words, smile a lot and better pretend to agree than express your true and honest opinion, because most don't want to hear it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Do it for a Cause

heads up: no, I am not asking for money or donation in the post below

What does not shaving at all for a month, running for miles, walking barefoot on the streets of New York city and Bon Jovi singing have in common? All of them are done for causes. The good ones.

Expressions like "For a good cause", "Raise awareness" and "Donate to support" are heard and seen everywhere. As natural as it may seem and must feel for an average American citizen, the abundance of events "for a good cause" has had me feeling lost and "not getting it" for some time.

Allow me to pause here and note that I have absolutely nothing against any of the above mentioned. Selflessness is one of the most beautiful human traits, and caring is a what I sometimes I wish I had more of..

But back to my point, I find it curious how pretty much anything can be turned into the "I'll do it for a cause" act. I guess seeing how A can affect B and wondering if there could be doing too much and going too far when referring to charity is what I am having hard times with. I get how a concert or an album sales can impact the cause by donating of profits to it. But what I don't understand is how not shaving a face or armpits (a real charity, not kidding), not drinking water or not wearing shoes can benefit anyone or anything.

Can someone enlighten this ignorant immigrant here?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Shop it Like you Mean it

The urge for shopping seems to run in people's blood here. Back in 2008 when the crisis gave a kick in America's economy butt, the only places where you couldn't notice it were the shopping malls - Friday through Sunday finding parking in a mall would still be a challenge.

Love for shopping, deals and spending money on a stuff that ends up not being used/touched/worn more than once molded the way businesses increase their profits and customers happily empty their pockets.

Is there a FREE movies showing in the park? Bet you there will be at least 3 food trucks making sure you stay hydrated and full. Going to the Dodgers game? Keep an eye for a super special deal at a gift store on your way in and out for baseball hats and sweatshirts at ridiculous prices that will make you feel like you're buying an expensive brand piece of clothing. 2 for 1 anyone? It's just like those stadium hot dogs, you just can't say "no" to them.

Good or bad, I am not here to judge. I am here to observe, report and avoid being manipulated as hard as I can. It doesn't always happen easily, because all those magnets, cards, keychains and bottle openers sure do look and wink at you. I mean, who can resist getting a $20+ cotton shirt with your favorite (or not so much) team, artist or event that you are never going to wear again? Even Olivia Wilde couldn't!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

You'll never get over them

They will follow you whenever you go. They will tell you what to do and what not to. They will not let your mailbox feel abandoned.You owe them. They own you.

They are your bills. They can be all kinds - medical, credit, insurance, mortgage, car, utility. But they all want one thing from you - to get them paid. 

I wish someone told me about them before I came here, I might have though twice about moving and settling down. That's a joke, obviously, but with all seriousness, it's insane how quickly the bills add up, and how the cycle seems never-ending. I don't know about the rest of you, but every time I hear an add for another service that "will make my life easier" and "I won't be able to live without" all I can actually think about "Just another bill I don't really need". 

As mad and not-accepting as I can be about them, there's little I can do to change. That is unless I am willing to change the lifestyle I lead and give up on the things I enjoy having around me. You know, like light in my apartment and those 4 shiny wheels to take me places. I owe them. They own me. C'est la vie {in the states at least}

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Red. White. Blue.

Oh American people! I cannot think of any other nation in the world that carry so much pride and respect for their flag and belonging to their nation.

American patriotism isn't something that only gets infused by a national holiday and Olympic games, it's an everyday occurrence, a state of mind. Ask a 7 year old whose parents came to the states from anywhere in the world of what he/she is and the response without hesitation will be "I am American!" Heck, even wearing stripes and stars on a t-shirt or summer DIY'd cut-offs is a pretty cool thing among anyone, old and young, American or not. That's tough to beat.

Unlike most other nations in the world, this melting pot of global cultures and heritages is oh so proud of being American. Makes me smile, admire and envy just a little every time I come across its expression. If only they taught "How to Love Your Country" in schools... I keep on dreaming, taking my hat off and getting ready to watch the fireworks.

Happy Birthday, America! Stay beautiful.