Archive by Author

1956 Sunset Coral Thunderbird

24 Sep

20140918_143811For the past few days I have had the good fortune of driving a convertible 1956 Ford Thunderbird complete with whitewall tires, continental kit, rear wheel well skirts, over-sized steering wheel, and those iconic tail fins.  If that weren’t enough to draw your attention…throw in the fact that it is the rare color of Sunset Coral Pink.  Amazing…one of those insanely rare colors to come out of the 50′s on cars like the two-toned Fairlane, Galaxie, and Mercury.  Having the entire T-Bird wrapped in the color…its a show-stopper to say the least.  So much so that it has been almost dangerous to drive around Wichita thanks to all the gawkers.  In the past few days I have…

  • Had a car list completely into my lane while staring at me
  • Had a truck almost rear-end the car in front watching me in the rear-view
  • Had a truck jump the curb while staring so hard they forgot to turn
  • Had a van stop mid intersection blocking traffic to stare
  • Had a mom let go of her stroller which bonked into a wall (took picture)
  • Had a car intentionally box me in to slow me down to get a better look
  • Had a creepy car follow me for 10 minutes trying to find out where we lived
  • Had a guy flip me off and yell at me for not taking him for a ride

Aside from these experiences I have had a car directly on my front or rear bumper swerving to take a picture everywhere I go.  So…I have been the guy speeding past and switching lanes to get away and try and have some space.  I know…boo hoo poor me, I have to drive an awesome antique car.  Trust me, its fun getting waved to by everyone and talking to people wherever I park.  That’s the fun stuff.  However, having people almost run me off the road or smash into each other while gawking or taking a picture?  Not cool.  The jumping the curb one was my favorite because the guy was so full-on jaw-dropped as he turned left at the intersection of Douglas and Washington that when he jumped the curb I saw his jaw bob up and down.  Full slack-jaw.  Luckily no one was walking on the curb or they would have gotten a Dodge Ram surprise.  The car behind him wasn’t a fan and gave him the horn and finger.  That’s the other thing I’ve seen/heard alot the past few days.  Horns and fingers by people getting cut off by the gawkers.  I get honks and waves…the gawkers…not so much.

20140923_092535My boys are in love with it so I of course installed a car seat for slow cruising.  Dodge (1) loves all the old fashioned knobs and buttons while Max (3) just thinks its cool that it has no roof and is pink.  I like both.  Max has begged me to go fast but I refuse to with as much insanity as I’ve experienced on the roads of Wichita the past week.  So we just cruise the side streets together pointing out cool things to see and waving to all the joggers and bikers who are moving at a similar pace.  Max is beside himself with sadness that the “Pink T-Bird” is getting shipped back home to New York and has announced that his favorite color is now pink…and gold…and also red…but mostly gold…and oh yeah, pink.  Dodge just likes spending time with his Dada and I’ll take it any way I can get it.  “T-Bird” is his newest word.

20140923_092525The best driving has been at night when the air is cool, the sun is down, and there are less cars on the road.  Cruising.  Driving just to drive.  I’ll go under a street light and suddenly people see its Sunset Coral Pink and it gets their attention.  I drop the accelerator and clear some space…reminding them that I’m not selling Mary Kay products and it is in fact a sports car.  It takes me back to when my wife Kate and I were first dating and we’d cruise Route 9N along Lake George, NY and park somewhere to stare at the stars.  It is impossible to drive this car without your right arm around the passenger seat side of the bench or your left resting on the door.  Its a car made for snuggling and I am going to miss my sunset cruises with the boys…driving around College Hill Park, the Eastborough Duck Pond, and of course the Douglas drag.  I’ve never heard Max talk so much and it has been awesome bonding time.  Dodge is learning new words every day and he sits with me in the car and asks so many questions…its awesome.  I can’t wait to take them for rides this summer when we’re back in New York, I also can’t wait to ride with Kate and no boys.

Like I said, boo hoo poor me.  I’m jaded, I grew up around antique cars.  They were always in the family or being worked on.  One of the cars I learned to drive on was my grandfather’s 1949 Willy’s Army Jeep.  I’ll never forget my dad drawing a chalk line on the pavement at the town beach parking lot and making me put the car in first and drive up the hill without rolling backwards over the line.  Everyone should learn to drive stick.  One time my wife and I drove to town in the convertible 1951 Willy’s Jeepster…3 on the column and fire engine red.  Awesome car.  We parked out front and went inside.  When we came out a college kid was sitting inside goofing off while his buddies took pictures of him.  When I confronted him he got pissed off that I was on his case about it.  Apparently, he felt that since it was a convertible it was okay to get inside.  It would only be breaking and entering if it had a roof.  Seriously?

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So, if you see a cool old car driving down the street give a honk and a wave (just a wave is fine) and move on.  Don’t go smashing into things with your jaw on the floor and your eyes out the sockets.  If you want a closer look keep in mind there may be small children inside and the driver may be trying to enjoy a little cruise so appreciate the car from a safe distance.  If you have questions you want to ask the driver, wait til you are both stopped at an intersection instead of trying to flag us down while we are driving.  Otherwise, buy a ticket to a car show and ask as many questions as you like there.  Want a ride?  No.  Who says, “Sure! Jump on in stranger!”  Want to take a picture with it?  Okay, but please don’t lean on it, touch it, or get inside it.  Last, please don’t follow us around creepily as we drive around with our children…we have phones and wrote down your license plate.

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Pending Fees On Your Debit Card From Bars/Restaurants

14 May

Credit-Card Industry Faces "Volcanic" Senate EruptionOne of the worst inventions for bars and restaurants is the debit card.  For the past ten years I have fielded Monday calls and emails from angry customers complaining that we’ve overcharged them.  From the high end steak house in a resort town, to the nightclub in NYC, to the restaurant in the Midwest…it is all the same.  “You have incorrectly charged me $25 and I demand to speak to the manager ASAP!”  One of the things I hate is that old saying, “The customer is always right.”  While I keep this in my head as I respond I like to amend it to “The customer always thinks he’s right.”  Thus, I kindly operate as if they think they are right and allow the opportunity for me to be corrected if I am wrong.  These conversations would be much easier if the customer would keep a saying fresh in their mind as well:  “You catch more flies with honey.”  Yes, we are in the service industry and we are here to serve you…but that doesn’t mean we are your servants nor does it mean we should be treated without dignity and respect.  So…with the understanding that every Monday email or phone conversation begins with me being insulted, yelled at, called a thief, etc., please forgive me while I use a mocking tone to explain the $25 fee on your card from a Saturday night.

New-bank-fees-on-horizon-after-debit-fee-cap-JV6UFF5-x-largeDebit cards are different from credit cards because you are directly drawing and crediting money to your financial accounts as opposed to using credit to pay for items which you then pay from your financial accounts.  However, banks have done as much as possible to make banking with your debit card seem as similar to your credit card as possible so you will use their services and incur their fees.  When you go to an establishment and open a tab, a temporary hold is placed on your card for a certain amount.  The standard fee in America is $25.  Now lets say you have a 5 drinks, each costs $4, you tip $1 for each for a grand total of $25.  At the end of the night when the establishment closes and sends all of its credit card charges off to be processed this is what your credit card company will see:

  • $25 pending fee
  • $25 credit
  • $25 charge

The total charged to your card is $25.  When this same transaction takes place on a debit card it looks like this:

  • $25 pending fee
  • $25 fee

The total charged to your card would be $50 because $25 would be charged to your account and $25 would become unable to withdraw till 1-2 business days when the bank releases your credits.  After 1-2 days the bank releases your credited $25 (pending fee) and it is back in your account.  Most common is someone spends about $5 and then wakes up Sunday to see they have been charged $5 and $25 and they think they have been scammed by another customer or the establishment.  However, they just have to wait till end of business Monday or Tuesday and magically that money is back in their account.  Here is what the $5 charge looks like on a credit card:

  • $25 pending fee
  • $25 credit
  • $5 fee

On the debit card it will say:

  • $25 pending fee
  • $5 fee

ed_hardy-1350You have been charged $5.  The pending fee of $25 has frozen $25 of your finances till the bank approves your $25 credit.  This is banking 101…but none of us care to hear that when we sign up for a debit card.  We just know it looks and works like a credit card.  Ever heard a cashier ask you, “Debit or credit?”  What’s your response?  “Either one is fine.”  Most times…it is, but maybe sometimes you would be better running it as credit.  I’ve talked to customers of all ages, all walks of life, from all over the world, and in different businesses…every time it is because their account was overdrawn.  Every time I am yelled at, called a thief , told the establishment I work for should be ashamed of itself, etc.  I guess they didn’t get that memo about flies and honey.  I then apologize, calmly explain how it is not a charge but a hold…and since they used a debit card it froze their actual money…blah, blah, blah.  Sometimes I end up giving away free meals to win them back because of review sites like Yelp where people only go to give 5 stars to places they love because the waitress was so nice or dog on a place because of something trivial like this.  They should actually be giving 1 star to themselves for not understanding how to bank.

edhardyAfter explaining multiple times that there is no button we can press that releases their funds immediately, I feel myself gritting though my teeth and wondering if anyone has ever asked this person, “Hey…if $25 is what caused you to overdraw your account, should you have been at a fine dinning restaurant buying drinks for all the ladies?”  Oh yeah…did I mention it is always a dude who calls?  Never a woman.  Seriously though…”Should you have been spending money like it was a bottomless pit?”  This is why debit cards are evil and should not be given to people who cannot manage their finances.  A debit card is like a check book that looks like a credit card.  If you have $50 in your account and a place tells you something will cost $60 you don’t write them a check for $60 right?  You know this because you balance your checkbook and maintain your funds.  Nowadays we use debit cards and check our balance via smart phones…but all that checking your iPhone’s banking app won’t save you from the fees your bank charges you when you use a debit card like a credit card.  Then Sunday rolls around and you stumble-frump your way to brunch with ironic sunglasses on and when the bill comes the server has to politely tell you your card has been declined.  Oops!  Embarrassing.  Now you feel like a chump and your Bud Light infused biceps clad in Ed Hardy and Affliction rhinestones need to destroy something.  You call the bank.  ZOINK!  Its Sunday.  You call the establishment.  ZOINK!  They’re closed.  So you wait up all night steaming, going over the conversation in your head, imagining what the person on the other end of the line will say, getting ticked off…till finally…at last…you call the establishment…and you get me.

douchebag255I have a form email that gets sent.  It is very apologetic, humble, and of course…the customer is ALWAYS right.  I reward them for their misfortune which is really their mistake and thank them for being so patient.  So…if you get that ever-common $25 charge on your debit card and overdraw your account…do yourself a favor.  Wait.  Wait for it to disappear by Tuesday when your bank issues your credits and pat yourself on the back for understanding how banking works.  Pat yourself on the back for not reacting like a jerk to a situation.  Pat yourself on the back for not yelling at someone who has zero control over the situation.  Then, go deposit some money in your account or stop using your debit card like it is credit.

LEGAL: The author currently works in marketing and has managed and owned restaurants throughout his career.  None of the stories depicted in this article are directly related to any past customers or any businesses associated with the author.  No Ed Hardy or Affliction shirts were torn during the making of this article.  The author is aware that he is venting and encourages you to remember that this is a comedic site and wishes no ill-will on anyone…just hilarious occasional misfortune to people who take themselves too seriously, hipsters, people who wear Ed Hardy or Affliction shirts, and/or overuse hair gel.  The author has overdrawn his account before by using his debit card like a credit card.  Money + alcohol = bad decision making.  Men shouldn’t wear rhinestones.  The author wants to know if we can now call “Hipsters” something more appropriate like “Almost-everyone-sters.”  Seacrest out.

Remember When We Used To Work For Ourselves?

1 Mar

When Kate and I moved to Wichita two years ago we were heading towards uncharted waters as I ventured into the world of corporate America…so long freedom!  Prior to that I ran my consulting, production, and design company called CreativeRHINO.  Kate worked with me but it was the unspoken truth that this was my project of love and did not tap into her passions, however she was a fan of working from home and the spontaneity of our schedule.  When our anchors dug into the Kansas prairie I told Kate, “CreativeRHINO is yours to run now so lets find some projects that perk your interest.”  Then, being the good husband that I am, I threw a bunch of jobs at her that were completely outside of what we had agreed would be good for her.  She wasn’t a fan.  So after the last corporate job wrapped up in 2011 we agreed we needed to brainstorm a new direction for 2012 and start creating projects instead of taking on projects.  What we created is *asterICT.

*asterICT embodies my favorite part of CreativeRHINO in a purely artistic way.  CreativeRHINO was started out of a desire to bring all the amazing people we had worked with in the past onto projects together.  “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could find a way to get so-and-so to work with so-and-so?”  So we did.  *asterICT is the artistic extension of that, its getting artists together who are creating unique projects and to have them collaborate here in Wichita.

Today we launched *asterICT and to help it get its feet off the ground we did a flash sale of some of Kate’s drawings from the series “Fruitful Gears” to help raise awareness and to arrange for travel for *asterICT’s debut performance.  The sale sold 10 of the 19 pieces in the first few hours!  So, if you like supporting local arts or want to learn more about *asterICT please read the blurb below from the CreativeRHINO site.

Its exciting to have a project like this to work on again in my “spare time.”  It is the pursuit of not neccessarily getting back to my old lifestyle…but combining my new work worlds together that has me excited for the future.  So long corporate America?  No…not yet.  In time yes, but right now I’m too happy doing both.

From CreativeRHINO.com:

Interactive new media company CreativeRHINO is excited to announce a new series of visiting artists entitled *asterICT

This series seeks to break down barriers between contemporary artists and their audience by inviting emerging artists from a broad range of disciplines to Wichita for performances, exhibitions, workshops, and casual conversation.  *asterICT brings contemporary arts to the community on an intimate level so that artists and audiences can engage with each other and thus mutually benefit from a shared artistic dialog.

CreativeRHINO is pleased to debut *asterICT with the first group of visiting artists: vocalist Jennifer Beattie and pianist Adam Marks.  Their performance will be April 6th in conjunction with a new exhibition by artist Kate Van Steenhuyse at the Naked City Gallery.  More details to come.

Ms. Beattie is hailed by Opera News for her “exuberant voice and personality.” She is a versatile mezzo-soprano and dynamic performer in styles ranging from opera to chamber music and musical theater to cabaret. This season she joins the Opera Company of Philadelphia as well as being a soloist in the Mozart Requiem with the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia.

Mr. Marks is praised by The New York Times as an “excellent pianist” with “titanic force.” In 2008, he made history as the first American laureate of the French Concours International de Piano d’Orleans for music composed since 1900. He currently serves as the Director of Artistic Programming for Fifth House Ensemble and actively pursues collaborative endeavors as an essential part of his career.

To support these visitors and encourage community engagement in contemporary art, CreativeRHINO is hosting a flash sale of drawings by Van Steenhuyse.  The drawings will be available  till Sunday, March 11th.  CreativeRHINO has agreed to absord 75% of the costs of these drawings and thus offer them to the public for the exclusive price of $75 per drawing.  In addition to the artwork, patrons of this sale will receive an invitation to the private preview party and performance.

Please click HERE to view the drawings for sale.

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