Posts Tagged With: Sony

I Miss Typewriters

Underwood Typewriter

1st Sony WalkmanMy freshmen year of high school was the 1979/1980 school year. For many people this feels like recent history, while youngsters think of this time as ancient history. One thing was ancient – technology. Technology was still quite primitive by today’s standards. Let’s try refreshing our memory or learning a little about the simplicity of this less technological time in life. This was long before life with the internet, laptops, or home computers; word processors were advanced technology. Sony Walkman and cassettes were just beginning to make music more portable and a tablet was not electronic – a “tablet” meant a pill or a spiral notebook. I do kind of miss those days. 

Part of my high school experience included teachers requiring important papers to be typewritten instead of handwritten. Sony Console TVToday, computers and printers are almost as common in homes as console color televisions in the early 80s. This was usually an issue for me since our home did have color tv, but did not include a typewriter. I had an uncle that had an old Underwood typewriter and my parents would haul me into town to borrow his typewriter and lug it back to the house. It weighed at least 30 pounds and was a workout to transport. It crossed my mind sometimes, what do other students that did not have an uncle with a typewriter do? I do not remember the library having typewriters for public use like they now have computers.

The importance of proofreading was vital before beginning to type any paper for school. I followed general typing rules that this “texting” generation is unfamiliar with, rules like: proper use of capital letters, two spaces after the punctuation at the end of a sentence, indenting, double space between paragraphs, and proofread, proofread, proofread before starting, because there was no spell-check other than the teacher. My O.C.D. ruled out using liquid paper to cover mistakes. Just reaching this point of this post I have completely rewritten several times and if I were using a typewriter would have killed several trees of paper rewriting. 

perks 1So why do I miss typewriters? I remember outlining and completing my thoughts before hashing them out and learning perks2to accept my final draft. I sometimes re-read my own posts and edit long after they were initially posted. I am no longer able to accept my final draft! An old typewriter similar to my uncle’s was a central part of the book/movie “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and this movie brought back a great deal of nostalgia.

 Watching “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” reminded me of my high school experience more than the-perks-of-being-a-wallflower-hollywood-movie-wallpaper05any other movie that I can remember. The character Charlie was struggling to find his identity and where he fit in. He was also dealing with a dark experience he was unable to process all while remaining a little naïve. Charlie and I had a lot in common. I was led to believe that “Less Than Zero” was supposed to be the book/movie to reflect my generation’s experience, but it missed representing my life completely! “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is set in an early 1990s, middle-class, suburban area of Pittsburgh; making it much more relatable to the backdrop of my rural, small town life not too far from New Orléans than that of the wealthy Los Angeles lifestyles of the character in “Less Than Zero”. Maybe my high school situation of the early 80s was not so different than that of the 90s or that of other’s high school realities.

I have rated over 1,650 movies on Flixter.com. That is equivalent to approximately 4 months of my life doing nothing other than watching movies. the_perks_of_being_a_wallflower_quote_1This estimate does not count time watching tv or movies I watch repeatedly. This does not qualify me as an expert on the topic of movies, just VERY experienced. As much as I enjoy trying to express myself through writing about the perks 3random thoughts or ideas that ramble through my brain, this also does not qualify me as an expert at writer – just experienced. As I see movies and find ways that I relate, I search for MY story that others would relate to, enjoy or be inspired by one of my stories. With my Multiple Sclerosis and how it affects me cognitively, I have the additional pressure to record my stories during the times I feel well enough to write and my mind cooperates. I also hope to be around when someone decides to appreciate my little stories and thoughts.

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Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is Cold In His Shadow

Glen Thomas Johnston

September 21, 1932 – March 22, 2011

I have learned that life in the shadow of my father after his death is even more difficult than when he was living.  Most people have idealized their father to the point of being an unrealistic character.  In my case it was real!  My Dad was a character but it the best way – everyone loved him.  I have NEVER heard anyone say ANYTHING bad about my father, where as I do not have to leave the house to find people that will speak ill of me.  My father was not perfect, and even people that did not agree with him still  respected him.  The year since his death, I have learned it will be impossible for me to have a fraction of the respect from family, friends, and community that he had – this frustrates me.

Next week I will begin therapy (AGAIN)!  Even before his death I had issues.  The more I am living at home and in this community, the more I see things I had felt were big accomplishments in my life have been undermined by some.  I miss Dad because he was proud of me and he let me know it.  Our family did not make a big deal about birthdays, they were usually a simple family meal but never a real party.  Now when I graduated from Ole Miss (University of Mississippi), he and Mom threw me a party!  I was the youngest child, but the first to graduate from college.  When I bought my Toyota 4-Runner, he would not have been happier for me if it were a Land Rover.  When I went to work for Sony, most people would, by his account, think I was hired as the President/CEO instead of lowly marketing guy.  When I bought my BMW convertible while living in Las Vegas, I hoped he would be impressed.  Even though he liked the car, what impressed him was the deal I got on it.  His disappointment was that I had bought a BMW that was 2 years old instead of the brand new Toyota Tacoma I had originally planned to buy.  When I moved to Colombia, an Ambassador’s welcome would have been too little in his eyes.  I was the first in the family to have a Passport and to get a stamp in it.  Now all of my family has Passports and stamps – other than Mom and I hope to change that soon.

The last few years have been very tough for me.  I finally had to surrender to my Multiple Sclerosis by taking disability.  This meant I had to say goodbye to Sony, goodbye to my BMW convertible, goodbye to my Las Vegas life and even pretty much all of my independence.  He had been diagnosed with Dementia. I had just moved from Bogota to Medellin, Colombia, when I got a phone call,

“If you want to see your Dad alive again you better get home as fast as you can.” my Mom said.  My sister’s were in Brazil.  We all rushed home as soon as we could.  

I walk in the hospital room where he was setting up, smiling as if nothing had happened and he said, “What are you doing here?  I thought you were in another country.”  

I replied jokingly, “I came home because I thought you were dying!”  

He said with a smile, “Not today!”

What I learned later was that the night I was flying home, he walked out of the hospital and security found him in his pajamas trying to get into his car.  Mom asked him where  was he trying to go.  He said, “To get Tommy.” (Tommy was my childhood nickname).  Even supposedly dying, he was thinking he needed to come get me.

My Dad not only loved me, he respected me.  He knew how much I struggled to get through college.  He occasionally would help me out with some money, but he knew how I worked to support myself and pay for my education.  I told him years later that I did not want him to leave me anything in his will because of all the help he gave me in college.  But even what I consider to be a grand gesture has been reduced to, “Thomas don’t want anything because his Dad paid for him to party at Ole Miss all those years.”  He is not here to set the record straight and stand up for me and say Thomas deserves respect because his finishing college was quite an accomplishment.  Even though he would have loved for me to have lived closer, he encouraged my dreams that required I live away.

I have given up any hope that people will have the same respect for me that my father had.  My own family can’t even muster simple respect for me and it hurts me, makes me angry, and helps fuel my desire to live away from here.  It is easier to leave and just start somewhere fresh.  People I worked with and customers at Sony had a great deal of respect for me (other that a bitch – I’ll just use her first name – Renee).  Friends that are from all over the world encourage me with my writing – even though it makes me no money, it makes me happy – and my family knows little or nothing of my writing.  My life of wanting and trying to have my family respect me fatigues me more than my MS.  I have severed my relationship with one of my nieces because of her blatant  DISrespect.

A year ago I had to say good bye to my father – and the to the respect he so easily gave me.  I miss my father!  He was ALWAYS in my corner.  Now I just find I am fighting with myself – and I am losing!  He and I did not agree on politics or religion, but he still respect me even though I aggravated him with discussion of these topics.   Maybe the therapist will help me get on a more positive path even with myself.  As RuPaul says, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”  Maybe I have to learn to love myself in spite of how family and friend view me.  I will always be in his shadow and it disappoints me that I will never be half the man he was – even through my own eyes.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Best Buy Forgets That Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000

My YEARS of admiration for electronic/appliance retailer Best Buy was single-handedly SLAUGHTERED by one manager recently.  Best Buy was one of the accounts I once “called on” when I worked for Sony.  I was able in those days to see a lot of the behind the scenes at the retail giant and I was generally impressed!  When I worked for Sony I was ever  mindful that I had the power to improve (or damage) Sony’s image for many Best Buy sales associates, I kept this in mind with EVERY interaction with Best Buy employees.  This manager named Kendaryl had the same power for Best Buy and he managed to annul my favorable impression of Best Buy.  I had always prided the company for its outstanding customer service, but one incident with one manager has affected the entire company’s standing with me.  Not that my opinion matters very much – as this manger made clear to me.

I no longer work for Sony and I am disabled.  I live solely on my social security check each month.  It is an incredibly SMALL amount and Best Buy received a large percentage of this income since electronics and gadgets make times when I am bedridden a small bit more tolerable.  During my years with Sony, I also developed a love for electronics that bordered on being an addiction!  With my paltry income each month, in the last year I have bought 2 laptops, a 58″ plasma tv, an iPod Touch and countless items like movies and gadgets from Best Buy.  I was one of the winners in the Best Buy sweepstakes in December – winning a $300 gift card.  I also have a Best Buy RewardZone Master Card.  So it is fare to say, Best Buy GOT MY BUSINESS and I was a LOYAL customer…. as limited as my purchases may have been in the grand scheme …. it was grand in my scheme.

Along with this admiration of Best Buy came a trust.  When I bought one of the laptops the associate recommended Kaspersky Pure Total Security anti-virus software, so I also bought this.  Now, when I bought the second laptop from Best Buy with a larger screen to replace the other laptop also bought at Best Buy…. I also got a new version of Kaspersky Pure Total Security for an additional $99.99 to protect the new computer.  As I tried to load the Kaspersky software, I kept getting a message to uninstall Norton anti-virus.  The Norton anti-virus (I am very anti-Norton) was something pre-installed on the computer, did not show on my list of programs, and could not be deleted via a directory search.  There is no Best Buy where I live, the closest one is just over an hour away, so next time I was close to a Best Buy I went into to ask the Geek Squad for help.  The girl at Geek Squad told me it would be $29.99 to help me remove the Norton so I could install the Kaspersky.

Selling me a laptop with pre-installed software, selling me additional software, THEN charging me $29.99 MORE to be able to use the additional software they sold me is what my father would call a RACKET; as defined by dictionary.com – a dishonest scheme, trick, business, activity, etc.  I asked the Geek Squad associate to get a manager because I did not feel I should be charged for this “service”.  The manager, Mr. Kendaryl explained the policy and why I would HAVE to be charged.  I explained how I felt this was a “racket” and he again began to explain the policy.  I began to get impatient and told him not to explain the policy again, but to listen to me.  I explained how selling someone a product, then when not able to use it, to charge a customer more to be able to use the 2 products together was a dishonest scheme. Guess what he did?  He began to explain the policy AGAIN!

This is where, now in a rage, I said something that also included the F*#K word.  I told him he had to make a choice: 1- install the software I bought from Best Buy on the laptop I bought from Best Buy without charging me extra; or 2 – let me leave as one PISSED OFF customer.  He chose #2.  I told them to give me back my laptop, and my gay ass grabbed the laptop and began my angry priss out of the store!  I did turn around to go back to make sure I had his name right (he was now talking with another manger) and they both GLADLY gave me his name thinking I would never follow through on what they felt were “empty” threats to make as “BIG A DEAL” as I could because of this situation!  I will be forwarding the link to this blog to any of my contacts at Sony and Samsung to see if they have contacts at Best Buy corporate that may care about this issue and also to Best Buy customer service…. I am curious as to whether ANYONE will even care?

I live with Multiple Sclerosis and know how one microscopic scar on my nerve affects my entire body.  This manager named Kendaryl is microscopic in the anatomy of Best Buy, but he has affected the entire organization of Best Buy.  I once worked retail and I KNEW if a customer told me, “DO NOT REPEAT the policy to me again!” – it would be bad to immediately begin explaining the policy AGAIN!  Also, if a manager at Best Buy does not have the discretion to “comp” a simple service like what I needed – seeing the error of such a policy – to be able to keep a LOYAL customer from getting PISSED…. why does Best Buy even need managers?  Why was he not trained to prevent a customer from becoming irate?  Or in this case, why wasn’t he trained NOT to aggravate a customer to the point of making him (me) irate?  Yes…. I did end up IRATE!! lol

I have two $20 RewardZone reward certificates and I am so pissed…. I do not think I will even use them for something FREE from Best Buy!  I guess they did not read Mr. Blackshaw’s book!  I am angry, I have a blog and ironically…. I am averaging about 3,000 views a month!!  😉  Now I have two choices: 1 – explore what company will get the money I had been spending at Best Buy AND destroying my Best Buy RewardZone MasterCard; or 2 – be pleasantly surprised to hear from Best Buy that Mr. Kendaryl will be joining the thousands enjoying President Obama’s improvements to the unemployment benefits program?  I am rooting for #2!!

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Up in the Air and a Few Miles Short! (Seeing My Life In Movies)

Recently I watched the movie “Up in the Air”…. ok actually, I just watched it!  Clooney’s character is striving for the recognition of American Airlines by achieving 10,000,000 air miles.  I understand his quest like few can.  I am a former Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite member.  I know the thrill I had opening the letter from Marriott and seeing that card.  I was always looking at the Sony LCD flat screen tv that could be purchased using the points – but I was always a few points short.  Forget the fact I worked for Sony!  I wanted the miles to buy me something because I felt so alone and had no one to buy me things I wanted.  Actually, there are few people who even knew what I wanted.

In the movie Ryan Bingham (George Clooney’s character) flies around the U.S. firing people.  Ryan is a likeable guy, but he does not seem missed when he is gone and the few that do miss him begin to accept their place in his life – at a distance.  His ambition to meet what most see as a shallow goal is what brings him comfort in the absence of real connections with people.  It is easier for him live “up in the air” and away from actual connections with people who may get close.  The acknowledgement of American Airlines is more important than appreciation of other people.  I so relate!  Except I always connected with Delta.

Most people booked their air travel with Orbiz, Epedia, or even travelzoo.com to get a deal on flights.  I actually went directly to delta.com and searched and searched to find the flight that would meet Sony’s travel & expense guidelines so I could get my SkyMiles.  Many co-workers booked through the company travel group and just took whatever flight they gave them – but I worked at finding a Delta flight.  I then asked the travel group to purchase the ticket for me.  I had flight numbers and times ready along with information showing Delta had a lower price than the Sony “prefered” airlines.  Such dedication for loyalty.  As I looked at the Sony tv in the SkyMiles catalog …. I found I was always a few miles short.

Mr. Bingham had a crap job, but he liked it.  There are few that would have enjoyed my job like I did.  Do you remember Del Griffith, John Candy’s character in the movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”?  The guy sold shower curtain rings and traveled constantly… but he LOVED his job and his customers loved him.  His job was a thankless job like mine.  No matter how good a job a did…. no one noticed other than my customers.  I had a a bitch of a boss that did not like me and NO ONE liked her but she has now even been promoted.  Why can’t a company as great as Sony see what useless crap she is!  I helped the company, my customers loved me, but I was held back because she was simply a bitch.  But despite all the reasons for me NOT to like my job I loved it and was good at it.  But when it came to the big money…. I was a few dollars short.

As I mentioned, with Marriott I had achieved the highest honor for Marriott Reward members – Platinum status.  It took staying 75 nights to reach this level of achievement.  I will say that I was staying at the Courtyard by Marriott… not actual J.W. Marriott or Marriott hotels.  Courtyard was great and designed for the business traveler – which I was.  I stayed most often at the downtown Courtyard in Salt Lake City.  The guys and girls at the front counter got to know me quick.  As a Platinum member I would get upgraded to a suite if one was available and often one was available.  A big suite for a lonely traveler filled the void that was missing because of no personal connections.  I received welcome gifts of cookies and bottled water; and yes that little shit meant a lot to me – for some reason!  As I would look in the Marriott Rewards catalog …. I also found I was a few points short.

My Multiple Sclerosis has grounded me from earning my SkyMiles and I stay few nights at a Marriott brand hotel.  But no one has noticed.  I go from being a 5 year Platinum Elite Marriott Rewards member to nothing and no card, letter of gift bag asking where did our loyal customer go?  I book my flights now on travel.com because I know my one or two trips a year will not add up to my seeing status with Delta again.  I still sometimes look longingly at the upgrade board to see if my name may be there – now it never makes the list.   But as with MANY things in my life….I have come up a little short, but I still like my shallow, self-indulgent and even sometimes lonely life.  I am an island…a small crappy one… but the views are great!  To be the big island everyone wants to visit…. my beach comes up a little bit short!

I actually felt I missed my friends when I was traveling and looked forward to seeing them when I returned home.  Now my trip is more permanent, I see I am “out of sight and out of mind”.  I hate that my Multiple Sclerosis robbed me of the life that made me comfortable.  Having lost my status makes me feel lost sometimes!  I still look for and desire that status I once had that no one noticed or cared about but me.  I now also belong to Jet Blue TrueBlue as well as remaining a SkyMiles and Marriott Reward member… but have no status with any of them.  Life for me is like working for Sony but wanting that Sony tv in the catalog …. I am always a few miles short!!  I look sometimes in the mirror and still see my inner Ryan Bingham, but I see I have no status anymore… I NEED to be UP IN THE AIR!!!

Categories: Life, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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