Monday, November 29, 2004

Poor jean-etic material

For some reason that I still don't understand, my girlfriend Alice could not stand my jeans. I have a couple pairs of regular old blue jeans. I never thought anything of it. I didn't wear them for style, because I wouldn't know if they were "good" or "bad" jeans. I wore them because I needed to wear pants on cold days.

Alice decided enough was enough.

With virtually every store in America having a sale this past weekend, she took me to the mall to get some new jeans. I did need new jeans, but I thought it was because the jeans I had were worn out and torn up. I didn't know that it was because my jeans "were ugly" according to my girlfriend.

I don't know the different between these new ones I have and the old pairs now burried in the back of my closet, but as long as I needed new jeans, I didn't see a problem in getting some that my girlfriend liked for me (because I sure as shit don't know what looks good on me).

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Impatiently lovin' the sales

Finding this DVD-Recorder on sale was nice, but getting to use it starting now is even better. Posted by Hello

With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, the entire country is now enthusiastically waiting for Christmas. Lights are up, decorations are out and tree are in living rooms, and it's still November.

One of these pre-Christmas rituals that I enjoy is the days-after-Thanksgiving sales that go on at all stores across the country. The deals available on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving are the best you can find at any point during an entire year.

While the majority of the country buys gifts and presents for everyone they know only to put them away until December 25, I - being Jewish and not celebrating Christmas - get to use all the great stuff I bought now. I don't have to wait a month.

Over the next month the rest of the country is waiting to open presents that have been wrapped and hidden since this weekend. I am already set to use my new DVD-Recorder, play my half-price Madden 2005, and wear some pretty comfortable jeans that my girlfriend strongly recommended that i buy (a/k/a: she made me buy 'em, but hey at half-price why not).

I'll enjoy this game for a month while others have to wait until December 25 to try it out. Posted by Hello

I love the days-after-Thanksgiving sales. Great deals to buy even greater stuff everywhere, and I don't have to be patient at all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Ski Deprivation

I've got ski deprivation.

Since 1988, when I was three, I have skied at least one week each year. My family has taken trips to Utah and Colorado to ski at fantastic places such as Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort (the first place I ever skied), Beaver Creek and Vail. Last December, however, after a freak knee injury in a basketball game, doctors told me I would have to stay off my knee for a month. This month happened to include my family's week-long ski trip.

I haven't skied in two years. Usually because of an entire year off from one of my favorite sports (to do, not to watch), my progression of improvement is a 'two-steps-forward-one-step-backwards' sort of thing. This year, however, who knows how many steps back I've taken. I know my knee will be okay, but I just want to be able to ski the difficult terrain that makes a trip to the mountains worth while.

Mountain High is just one of the powder kegs I hope to visit this ski season. Posted by Hello

When I return to LA after the winter break, I'll be ready. This season's skiing won't stop after the family vacation to Park City, Utah. I'm bringing my skis back to SoCal. Because I now have a car, I can take day-trips or weekend get-a-ways to Snow Valley, Mountain High, Mammoth Mountain and Mt. Baldy. Don't think I won't, either. Ideally I can find others to go with me, but if not, I'll have no problem hitting the slopes alone.

It's too good to miss, especially after two years off.

Philosophy paper - The Finale

I don't care about how this paper turns out.
"It's not that I'm lazy, it's just that I don't care." -Office Space

This is the sad, honest truth.

I finished the paper and wow is it terrible. While wrapping it up, I realized that I honestly don't care about the grade it receives. It's not that I don't want to pass this class, because I truly do. I just don't have a desire to excel in classes that I am not interested in. The reason I am taking Philosophy 262 this semester is because it fulfills part of the General Education requirement.

This past semester, I have enjoyed the core journalism curriculum: print, broadcast and online newswriting. Unlike philosophy, I am interested in journalism. While some can argue that I am lazy or unmotivated or just don't care about schoolwork, I whole-heartedly disagree. I care a great deal about the work I do in the classroom but primarily for classes I feel have a purpose to my education in the arena of a potential future profession.

I do not believe that only classes relating to a student's potential future profession automatically spark interest with a student, but it is extremely easier to focus and - more importantly - care about a class when it is a subject a student is interested in. That being said, if a student takes a class that does not relate to a future profession but a student finds interesting, that student is automatically put in a situation to suceed.

Many students are labelled lazy or unmotived. I know I have been in some classes. In others, however, no two adjectives could be farther from the truth.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Philosophy paper - Part III

I'm making some progress. I'm not saying it's good. I'm just saying I'm making progress.

this is an audio post - click to play

I would also like to take a moment to identify the root of all the anger I've recently been feeling, my textbook.

If you ever encounter this philosophy book, I have but one word of advice for you: RUN! Posted by Hello

Philosophy paper - Part II

I don't understand the subject matter for this assignment. Allow me to present you with an exerp from our textbook. Here, you will get a glimpse into the realm of philosophy and all that intails (pain, suffering and eventual failure in the classroom).
"This formula: a mental state is a state of the person apt for producing certain ranges of behavior, I believe to be a very illuminating way of looking at the concept of mental states."
Yes, well that's fantastic, David Armstrong, except that no one knows what you're talking about. I hate how philosophers just leave random, vague and unexplainable statements out there for us to hopelessly translate and interpret. There is a section in our textbook where philosopher David Lewis, who disagrees with some of Armstrong's points, proves that philosophers have lost touch with the rest of the human population. That section reads:
"I don't object to the strategy of claiming ambiguity. As you'll see, I shall defend a version of it. But it's not plausible to cook up an ambiguity ad hoc to account for the compossibility of mad pain and Martian pain. It would be better to find a wide-spead sort of ambiguity, a sort we would believe in no matter what we thought about pain, and show that it willsolve our problem. That is my plan."
After scrutinzing and deeply perusing surrounding text, I concluded that David Lewis has lost his mind. As if that isn't bad enough, he conclusively proves my point that philosophers have lost touch with the rest of human civilization just three paragraphs later:
"This is not to say, of course, that it might have been that pain was not pain and nonpain was pain; that is, that it might have been the the occupant of the role did not occupy it and some nonoccupant did. Compare: "The winner might have lost" (true) versus "It might have been that the winner lost" (false). No wording is entirely unambiguous, but I trust my meaning is clear."
You trust that your meaning is clear? Wow. David Lewis, you are sad man. Now you can see why this philosophy paper will no doubt take a while for me to finish, or at least comprehend. It's simply just a matter of how much 'BS' I can type before I fall asleep.

The EPSON reinstallation

After getting my computer back-
Well, let me start over.

After getting back a computer with an erased memory that we can basically assume is a new computer because it has no remaining identity from before November 4, 2004, I have had to reinstall several different programs. Only recently did I remember to reinstall my printer.

I'm currently taking a break from my philosophy paper (a/k/a finding different forms of procrastination) to get that done, but let's face it, there isn't going to be a need to print anything (especially a philosophy paper) if I don't get to work on it.

We'll see how that turns out.

Philosophy paper - Part I

I am currently in the middle (and by middle, I mean 1/5 started) of a 5-page philosophy paper about mental states in the opinion of David M. Armstrong. Do you see just how confusing that sounds! And you don't even know the topic (1. explain what Armstrong thinks mental states are, 2. explain how Armstrong argues for this view, 3. Discuss whether Armstrong's view is correct or not.)

As it is already 10:52 p.m. here in Los Angeles, I hope to finish before my friends on the east coast wake up for class.

Putting back the pieces

Since getting my computer back this afternoon, I've done nothing but reinstall nearly every program I had on my computer.
It's been awful. It's bad enough that I have a 5-page paper due tomorrow that I haven't started, but I've got to fix my computer before typing a paper on it.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Incorrect Seinfeld Trivia Quiz

While reading online about the release of the Seinfeld DVD on November 23, I discovered a link to multiple Seinfeld trivia quizzes. Being a pretty big Seinfeld fan, I took all of them and did considerably well on each.

One quiz I took, however, had two questions I have a problem with. (Take the quiz - Click NBC Trivia: Super Seinfeld Quiz, Part II)

My first complaint is with Question #2: What happens when George walks into Steinbrenner's office and insults "The Boss"?

Posted by Hello
When George gets the bright idea to do the opposite of every urge he ever gets, leading to his job with the Yankees, he is not in Steinbrenner's office when he insults him. George was in the process of being interviewed when Steinbrenner walked by the office. The interviewer got up, grabbed Steinbrenner and introduced him to George in the hallway outside of the interviewers office.

When I first read this question, I was confused because there are numerous occasions after "The Boss" hires Costanza where George insults Steinbrenner in his office. This incident, however, was not one of those times.


Secondly, there is a major flaw in the answer to the ninth question: Why is Elaine blacklisted by her Chinese food delivery restaurant?

The answer choices on this multiple choice quiz are:
-She doesn't tip well
-They got her naughty Christmas card
-Kramer charged an unpaid bill in her name
-Her new boyfriend is a Communist

The quiz says the answer is that her new boyfriend is a Communist. While in this episode, Elaine does date a card-carrying Commie, that is not the reason she is blacklisted at Hop Sings, the Chinese restaurant.

At the beginning of the episode, a delivery guy (Lew) comes to Elaine's door. The following conversation (taken from that episode's script) ensues:

ELAINE: No, no This is all wrong. Where's the Chicken Cashew?
LEW: You no order Chicken Cashew.
ELAINE: I didn't order any of this. I'm not paying for this.
LEW: Fine Benes. We are putting you on our list.
ELAINE: What list?
LEW: The "do not deliver" list.

That is how Elaine gets blacklisted at Hop Sing's. Not only that, she later gets her Communist boyfriend Ned blacklisted as well.

ELAINE: I'm going to order Chinese Food.
NED: You're ordering from Hop Sing's, right?
ELAINE: Ugh, does it have to be Hop Sing's. I kind of had a fight with him.
NED: Elaine, when my father was black listed he couldn't work for years. He and his friends used to sit at Hop Sing's every day figuring out how to survive.
ELAINE: You're father was blacklisted?
NED: Yes he was, and you know why? Because he was betrayed by people he trusted. They "named names".
ELAINE: Okay, okay. (phones) Um, yeah, hi, I'd like delivery please to 16 West 75th St. apartment 2G.
LEW: I know that address. You're Benes, right. You're on our list. No more delivery.
ELAINE: No. no, she doesn't live here anymore. This is someone else.
LEW: Oh, yeah. What's the name?
ELAINE: Why do you need the name? You already have the address.
LEW: We need a name. Give us a name.
ELAINE: Okay, okay, Ned Isakoff.

When the delivery guy shows up, Ned gets put on "the list" too.

LEW: Ah, I knew it was you! You tried to trick Hop Sing! You are onour list; Elaine Benes! And now you are on our list; Ned Isakoff.
Ned: You got me blacklisted from Hop Sing's?
LEW: She named name!

I was very disappointed in these two questions on this particular Seinfeld trivia quiz. As a Seinfeld fan, I can now rest easy knowing that I have corrected this injustice.

Good night.

FedEx follies

With the recent notification of my computer's repair, I've eagerly awaited its return. I received an email from Sony's repair center with a FedEx tracking number and confirmation that the repair center had sent my computer back to me.

I checked the FedEx website early this morning to see when my computer would be back.

The website said my computer had been delivered from the repair to a 'local FedEx location' near me. I decided to drive over to that FedEx and pick up the package rather than wait for FedEx to deliver it to me Monday afternoon. Who's got time for that? After all, I have waited more than two weeks.

When I got there, I was told that even though the package was there, I could not pick it up because they hadn't sorted the "Monday packages" and therefore didn't know where in that FedEx location it was.

Uhh, what?

It's there. I gave you the tracking number. Get it!

Well, I was instructed to wait for the computer to be delivered to me. I couldn't get it early. It looks like I have to wait yet another couple of days before I get it back. Fantastic.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Victory is mine!

After an excruciating two weeks without my computer, I will be getting it back tomorrow!

this is an audio post - click to play

I logged online to Sony's Website to check the status of my repair and exhaled one big sigh of relief.

The Sony product that you have inquired about has been repaired and will be shipped back to you within one business day.

The only thing left to do: attempt to restore all the files that were no doubt erased from my hard drive.

Special thanks to Brad Williams for allowing me to store two gigabytes worth of files, pictures and programs on his computer. His response: "Well, you'd do it for me." Uh, yeah. You just keep on thinkin' that, Brad.

TO's apology fine by me

When Philadelphia Eagles' wide receiver Terrell Owens appologized yesterday for his part in this week's Monday Night Football opening skit, he did what everyone else associated with the skit failed to do: accept responsibility.

The Eagles organization said they "...wish it hadn't aired."

ABC has profusely appologized over and over trying to avoid a heafty fine.

TO, on the other hand, said, "Personally I didn't think it would have offended anyone and, if it did, I apologize."

I never thought I'd say this, but TO is the only one making any sense. He knows that the skit was no big deal. His appology is basically, 'If you were offended, you weren't supposed to be. We thought it was in good, clean fun.' There's nothing wrong with that.

TO also went on to say, "I thought it was a fun skit and that was it," Owens said. He knows that at the time, he thought it wasn't a bad idea (plus, no man is going to turn down the chance to stand in front of a naked Nicolette Sheridan).

It's time to let this go. I guarrantee at the start of Monday Night Football next week, Al Michaels will issue an appology before the game regarding this controversy (and calling this a controversy is ridiculous. Yes, it caused controversy, but the fact that this is such a big deal to our society is ridiculous. It was a bare back and an attempt at boosting ratings. Get over it, America).

TO, I still hate you for your celebration on the star on the 50 at Texas Stadium a few years ago. I will never forget seeing George Teague chasing after you once you headed to the star the second time and watching him deck you. But I do have to commend you for your stance on this pre-game skit. You are the only one who has owned up to your part in it.

And Michael Powell, here's what your buddy Walt would say after watching the skit and hearing that immortal question: "Yeah, I'm ready for some football!"

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Week in review

If you haven't already done so, make sure to take a look at these two can't-miss blogs from this past week.

  1. Michael Moore's reason to produce a Fahrenheit 9/11 sequel is illogical.
  2. MNF opener isn't the controversy it's being made out to be.


Elway couldn't drive this far

...well, maybe if we were in a 2-minute drill he could.

When school ends this may, I get to drive all the way from LA to Dallas. Oh man, 20.5 hours just driving. My ass is going to go numb. It will definitely take me an entire day just to get across the Lone Star State, which I don't mind because at least I'll be in Tejas.

I'm not looking forward to making this 1,500-mile drive in May. Posted by Hello

While driving for 20 hours and 30 minutes from Los Angeles to Dallas, I predict my ass will go numb. Posted by Hello

I only have to make this drive twice a calendar year, though, so I guess it's not that bad. Any other time I go home, I'm flyin'. Plus I'll get to have my car with me during the summer and won't have to rely on my brother to drive me places.

Still, this is one road trip where I wish I had a co-pilot. Maybe I could then get on a 4-hour rotation of driving then sleeping. That'd be nice.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

MNF opener no big deal

For the past two days I've had to listen to the "controversy" created by Monday Night Football's opening skit featuring the Eagles' Terrell Owens and Desperate Housewives' Nicolette Sheridan, and quite frankly, I don't see what all the fuss is about.

It was her back. Nothing more, nothing less. A skit like this would be practically lost among typical football game commercials:
-Pills to cure erectile disfunction.
-Two women stripping down to their underwear to fight over beer.

this is an audio post - click to play

Personally, I think the fact that this is even a "controversy" is stupid. What do yall think?

Audio Blooper

When I first tried to record an audio post about my opinion on the Monday Night Football opener controversy, I dropped the phone. Oops!

this is an audio post - click to play

It's about damn time

To everyone who has been following my broken computer saga, I would like to take a moment to echo Geico:

I do have good news.

And it's about damn time. Today, after yet another conversation with a tech support agent who did in fact verify my warranty, send the message to the repair center, and got them to start fixing my computer. Thank you, Ray. You are by far the most superior rep Sony employs (even moreso than Glendal).

When I logged onto Sony's website to check my repair status, I finally got a message that didn't tell me to pay $726.73 for the repair.
The Sony product that you have inquired about is currently with a technician. The repair has not yet been completed. Repairs take approximately 10 working days to complete.

Hey, at least they are working on it now. Before I couldn't even get them to acknowledge my warranty (which, as it turns out, DOES exist). Who knows when I'll actually get the computer back from the repair center, and who knows if anything saved on it will have been preserved. All I know is this mess is one step closer to over.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Moore's shooting "Fahrenheit 9/11" sequel really just shooting himself in the foot

Now Michael Moore is going too far. We get it, you don't like Dubya. I think you've made your point.

Michael Moore has decided to get the ball rolling on a sequel to Fahrenheit 9/11, his Bush-bashing film released this past year. Now, I'm not saying I defend Bush at all. As a matter of fact, I really don't care for him. I didn't vote for him. I didn't like him as a president or as my state's governor. I'm not making two movies about him, though.

Michael Moore has decided to make Fahrenheit 9/11 and a half because, according to Moore, 51-percent of the country was "misinformed" about the issues in this past election. "They weren't told the truth," he said in a recent interview.

Now, for this next 'experiment' please bare with me.

Let's assume that Moore is right and 51-percent of the American population was misinformed (and what a coincidence that it was also 51-pecent of the American people that voted for Bush). Just ignore that. Pretend that Moore is right. If you weren't misinformed then someone else was. More than half of the country was lied to about the issues in this past election.

Okay, here's the problem with that idea - even if it is true (which it isn't): The majority of people who voted to re-elect Bush (that "misinformed" 51-percent) cited MORAL VALUES as the primary reason for voting for Bush. Now, the last time I checked, moral values aren't exactly hardline issues. The concept of moral values is how someone feels one candidate best relates to them. Would that candidate do the same thing a voter would want done based on that voters morals?

So unless more than half of the American public was misinformed about Bush's values, then Michael Moore's given reason for making Fahrenheit 9/11 and a half is complete crap. If Bush suddenly starts promoting abortions, allows gay marriages, and puts a moratorium on the death penalty, then, YES, we were lied to about his moral values. He won't do that, though.

If moral values truly were the primary reasons for the American public supporting Bush - which I don't argue with, I find it very difficult to argue with his legitimacy as president. I find it even more troubling that Moore has invented this statistic about 51-percent of the American public being misinformed.

You can't misinform someone about Bush's moral values. Maybe his policies on certain hardline issues such as the economy and the war in Iraq are not clearly defined, but his moral values - the key reason for his supporters to vote for him - are set.

Moore's comments are absurd, and they embarrass me as a democrat.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Tech support tragedies

For those of you who don't know all about last week's computer troubles I had, here's a quick update:

Last Thursday (11/4/04) my laptop died. Basically the monitor won't light up. It'd flicker and die, so the computer was basically worthless.

Over the weekend I spent countless hours on the phone with tech support idiots (with one bright spot coming on Friday when the only competent rep, Glendal, provided some much needed relief).

Tuesday afternoon (11/8/04) I packaged up my busted laptop and sent it away to Sony's repair center to get fixed. I was told by numerous tech support people that I would have my product back in 7-10 days. "Business days?" I asked. "No." Just 7-10 days. Great!

Thursday, November 11, I got an email from Sony's repair center saying they had received my computer. Great. Now I can get it back and pretend this whole mess never happened. Except not.

One day later, I received an email from this same repair center with an estimate for fixing my computer:

Flat Rate Estimate:
Parts & Labor Cost: $ 699.00
Shipping & Handling: $ 27.73
Tax: $ 0.00
Total Amount Due: $726.73

The email gave me three options:

--------- Instructions on how to reply ---------
{Please reply to this email within 5 days, select A, B or C below
(pleasedelete the non-selected options)}.
A. Repair unit as estimated. AMEX/MC/VISA/DISCOVER
Exp date: _____________
Name on Card: ______________________
Security Code # ____________________ (This is the last 3 Digits on the back
of your Credit Card)

B. Do not repair. Please return it to me.

C. Do not repair. I authorize the release of unit for disposal.

Basically, I could either pay for it, have nothing done to it, or let them trash it. Now, I know for a fact that I have a three-year extended warranty and if these people don't believe me, just ask Glendal! She saw it! I'm not gonna pay +$700 for repairs I should get for free.I called them up that afternoon. With each number I dialed, I cringed with disgust. 1-800-476-6972. After finally getting through to a representative, he said that he saw that I had a warranty and told me I wouldn't have to pay the $726.73. Good! The rep I talked to, Quincy, told me that he'd let the repair center know that it was covered. That's all I wanted to hear.

But apparently that wasn't good enough for the repair center.

I decided to check up on how the repair was going this afternoon. I got onto Sony's Website, and entered my word order number.

The estimate of $ 726.73 for the Sony product you have inquired about is waiting approval for the repair. Please call1-800-222-7669.

What the hell? I straightened this out Friday. Quincy knows. I called up this new 1-800 number. It took me back to the same damn Sony tech support line I've called more than a dozen times since Nov. 4.

I got a rep on the phone and asked - in a much more polite choice of words - what the FUCK was going on! He connected me directly to the repair center so I could talk to them. Finally, I was getting to the source of the problem.

After a five minute conversation with this guy, he had an answer for me.

"Oh, okay. I see what's going on here," he said. That made one of us. "Yes, you need to contact Aon, A-O-N, the company that handles Sony's extended warranties, and get them to call us to pay for the repair. Tell them the unit is already with us at the repair center but to call in and pay for it. Once we hear from them, we will begin repairing your unit."Fantastic! They haven't started repairing it. Good luck 7-10 days!

I called up Aon. They needed to pick up the $726.73 tab at the repair center.

"Hi, this is Seth. Can I please have your phone number?" I gave it to him."It's not coming up in our system. Let's try it a different way. What's your name and zip code please?" I gave him my dad's name along with my home zip code. After all, I assumed those would be registered in their system before my name and my new California zip code.

"No, I'm not seeing it. What exactly is the problem you're having?" UGH! I told him the problem. Told him all about the computer and how they needed to pay for it. I told him about how one week ago, someone from his office faxed a copy of my warranty to Sony for me. Clearly they had it then, so why not now?

"Okay what's an address that would be listed with the warranty?" I gave him my parents' home address, the one that should be in their system.
I gave him my dad's office address, thinking maybe that would be it.

"Okay, I'm sorry, but can I just speak with a supervisor!"

"One moment please." Thanks Seth. Ten minutes later, Audra, the supervisor, was on the line with us.

"Hi there Mr. Feldman, my name is Audra. I'm the supervisor. What seems to be the problem today?"

I re-explained the entire problem for her so she could "document it" in her records (scribble drawings of X-men on drool-covered paper while I once again told my technological sob story).

"Okay," Audra began. "Do you have a copy of the order?"


"Is your name spelled correctly on it?" she asked.


"Okay," she said. So much for that quick fix. "What is the serial number for the unit?" I gave it to her. "No, it's not comin up."

"Try this one," I said, giving her a new serial number possibility.


"Okay, what about this one?"


"Okay," I said, frustrated. "Well I know for a fact that it is the first one I gave you." I repeated the serial number to her.

"That doesn't sound like a serial number."

"It's because I purchased it online directly from Sony, or at least that's how it was explained to me," I told her.

"Okay," Audra said. "Here's what I'm gonna do: I'm just gonna go ahead and create a new contract in the system for you. See, one in about every 100 contracts slips through the cracks and gets lost from our system, and it looks like that's you." She said it like I should be proud of myself. What was I supposed to say to that? 'Oh, hooray, I'm that lucky 1% that got screwed over! This is the best day of my life. What a dream-come-true!' How about I say 'FUCK YOU!' instead? I've gone through too much shit over the past week trying to get my computer fixed to be patient anymore!

"Okay. So what do we have to do for a new contract?" I asked.

She began asking me all kinds of questions for a new account with them. Name. Address. Phone number. Product. Cost of Product. Purchase date. etc, etc...

"Okay, Mr. Feldman I have your new contract in our system. What I'll do is get in touch with Sony to verify that you did in fact purchase a three-year warranty with your computer, and once we hear from them we can let the repair center know to fix your unit."

"Uh, so how long will it take for you to let the repair center know to start fixing it?" I asked, knowing the answer wouldn't make me happy.

"Two business days," she said. "You say they have a copy of the warranty, correct?"

"Yes, I had one of your reps, Shelly, fax it to them last week because they didn't have a copy of it at that time, but yall did," I told her.

"Okay well we'll go ahead and get in touch with Sony. If you want, please feel free to check back with us in a day or two to see that we found your warranty."

"Okay. So then once you have that, yall will pay the seven-hundred-whatever-dollars to get it fixed, right?"


"Okay great."

"And here is your tracking number to find out about the progress we are making getting your unit's repair paid for."

Oh yippee, I have a tracking number now. That's so much better than an actual computer!
"Thank you, Audra. I appreciate your help."

And that was it. Now I get to call back in one to two business days to see the progress they've been making. Great.

Until then, I have no computer to use nor faith in tech support.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Little brothers are people too

I was the first born child in my family. Everything was good for two years until my mom had another child, my brother Matthew. As a two-year-old I was still able to realize this could be trouble.

"Take him back," my parents recall me saying.

It seems that I took my little brother for granted for all those years. I didn't realize that until I got to college - more specifically about a week ago. I do miss having him around. It's definitely a lot quieter without him and a lot less fun. The kid can be annoying as hell but when I need someone to hang out with, I have no problem turning to Matthew. He's fun when he's not being an ass (and he knows he can be).

Growing up, my parents had a saying: "Josh never had a bad idea." I never had a bad idea because whatever I wanted to do, Matthew would always copy me without fail. If I wanted to play Ninja Turtles, he wanted to play Ninja Turtles. If I wanted to play baseball or soccer, he wanted to play too. It drove me crazy.

"Mom, he's copying me again! Make him stop!" I remember complaining time and time again.

As we got older, we became extremely competitive. Being just two years apart, Matthew's goal in life is to be better than me. My job is not to let him accomplish his goal. We would play ping-pong, tennis or basketball and most of the time I would win. I did have a two-year advantage. But then he narrowed the gap. Suddenly being two years older wasn't cutting it. The competition intensified.

In sixth grade, I began playing volleyball with the Addison Volleyball Club. Two years later, Matthew signed up to play as well. I guess I still don't have too many bad ideas. Volleyball became a big form of competition between us. Matthew constantly tried comparing himself to me two years before. Was he better? Did he hit harder? Could he jump higher? My answers: no, no and no (but I have a bias).

He got his chance to see just how good he was. He got a head-to-head match up. My senior year, I started for my high school's varsity volleyball team (Greenhill School). By his sophomore year, he had earned a starting spot on his high school's varsity volleyball team (St. Mark's). Greenhill and St. Mark's are big rivals as far as Dallas-area private schools. Regardless, when we played each other in volleyball, it was bigger than just Greenhill versus St. Mark's. It was Feldman versus Feldman. I even wrote in my sports column in my school's paper about the match up with Matthew.

St. Mark's school rivalry increases sibling rivalry in

No Joshing
by Josh Feldman, executive editor

As a student at Greenhill, I'm fully aware of the
school's long-lasting rivalry with St. Mark's. I am also a big brother, bringing another aspect of competition into my life: sibling rivalries.

However, unlike most students, my rivalry with my brother, Matt, is more than your average sibling rivalry.

He is a sophomore at St. Mark's, adding to the contrasts between the two of us. We constantly argue over which school is the best (obviously Greenhill), and every time we do, our mom is there to put an end to the feud. However it is now that we each get to formally fight for our schools through volleyball.

Each of us has played volleyball since age 12, and even though I am two years older than Matt, we both play at the varsity level at our respective schools. After playing four years of club volleyball, he has solidified his spot in the St. Marks' starting line up. He worked to be where he is, but so have I.

The first time I faced him on the court was last year in a match at a St. Marks hosted tournament where he started on the St. Marks' JV team.

On the first play of the game, I hit a ball at him, nailing him in the chest to set the tone of the game. He fought the game of his life, knowing that it was his older brother on the other side of the net.

This year, we already played against each other at a match at St. Mark's and I know I was the most intense I had been for a volleyball match in a long time.

Neither of us went into the match thinking that it would be just another team: there was family across the net. The focus of our games will not be on the scoreboard, rather on keeping my brother in check; knowing that even if the score shows the game to be a blow out, when we get home, we will recount the small battles we had during the game.

Whether that be a block I had on him or an ace he served at me I do not know. The rivalry goes beyond the sidelines of the volleyball court, into who will have the most to brag about at the dinner table.

Rivalries are never easy because you are constantly at war with someone. When that person is your brother who goes to your school's biggest rival, it's even more difficult, trust me.

As we are still in volleyball season, I look forward to future matches against Matt. I am ready to take the court to face not just an opposing school, but the person whose bedroom is down the hall from mine.

While I know that all my mom wants is a good, clean match, I want Matt to know that for the time being, his place remains in my shadow.

Remember, though, that I am the older brother.

No matter what, I cannot win in this situation. If I am seen as better, "so what?" I am a whole two years older, and therefore my victory is easily accepted (and justified).

If he is better, then I just got out-played by my younger brother. Either way, I do not want to hear of his triumphs over me at the dinner table.

When we played against each other, my school always won and for the most part, I won the small battles between us at the net. If I got set, I was not about to hit anywhere near his block. I didn't think that I couldn't hit through him, but I was terrified of the possibility that he might send the ball back. I did not want to deal with that.

As a leader of his team for the past two years, he constantly called me, asking advice and complaining about his coach (and, yes, he did have a lot to complain about). He was the clear leader of his team and he played like it. (WATCH VIDEO OF MATTHEW ON THE COURT - select VOLLEYBALL). I thought it was awesome to have him calling me for on-the-court advice. Volleyball is probably one of very few areas where I consider myself better and more knowledgeable than Matthew.

For example, I thought I was good at math and science, but if I was king, Matthew would be the emperor. Even when I got an 800 on the math section of the SAT, I missed one problem. His 800 was flawless. The beginning of his spring mid-semester comments from math class last year read something like this:

Mr. and Mrs. Feldman:
I regret to inform you that your son Matthew has encountered the inevitable misfortune of finally missing a point on a graded assignment in my class this year. ...

Is it just me, or is that ridiculous? I can't deny that the kid is smart, but why does he have to be a genius?

I do miss having him around though. As much as we fought growing up, he was my sidekick. Nothing against him, but that's the role a little brother plays. I find myself constantly wishing he was here because he's an automatic buddy. We have many of the same hobbies and interests, so we can - potentially - get along very well.

I do hope he comes to USC. I know he's looking at other schools like Stanford, MIT and CalTech (like I said, he's a smart kid), but having him here would definitely be awesome. He wouldn't live with me so we would have our distance, but he'd still be close enough to hang out. Also if he continued with volleyball out here, we could both play for the club team and be on the same side of the net for once.

He's probably sitting in his room right now, buried beneath a stack of college applications to every school that people like you and me only dreamed we were smart enough to apply to. If he does get off his butt to read this post, I have one message for him:

Matt: You're coming to USC, damn it! Trust me, you won't regret it.

I truly believe he should come here. It's an awesome environment and a good school. He would excel in USC's engineering program. He would love the football games. He would enjoy the freedom this school provides. Most importantly, he'd be here when I need my "sidekick" the most.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Party Poker's prejudice

Party Poker, a computer gaming program that allows users to bet real or 'play' money against other users online, has recently disappointed me. For no apparent reason to me, Party Poker has disgraced my religion of Judaism. Here's the deal:

In Party Poker, players can type messages for everyone sitting at their table to see. As a seemingly responsible program, the game does not allow for profanity in these messages, replacing words like fuck or asshole with XXXX and XXXXXXX. People do try to get around this system and succeed. Players will type or @$$hole and the game does not censor it.

No big deal. That's the world we live in.

I was watching my roommate Brad play Party Poker this morning - we play for 'play' money - and I noticed the conversation he and others at his table were having in the text box below the table. One of the player's screen name was "BigNose###." I asked Brad to ask the guy if he was Jewish. I am and I was curious if this person was perpetuating a stereotype. I'm not saying I don't make fun of my religion on occasion because I do believe it's important to be able to laugh at almost all aspects of life, but to some degree, perpetuating those types of stereotypes irks me.

Brad typed it out: "Hey BigNose, are you Jewish?"

The text appeared in the text box: "Hey BigNose, are you XXXish?"

Zoom in on the blue text to see the word "shit" censored. This online gaming program apparently thinks "Jew" is also unsuitable to be displayed. Posted by Hello

What? Brad and I both looked at each other puzzled. It censored "Jew." What for? That's not what I would define as a bad word. Yeah, it censors words like dick, cock, shit, fuck, bastard, and homo, but why Jew? When did that become a bad term?

At that point, I couldn't care less about BigNose. What the hell was Party Poker trying to say by censoring Jew? Brad typed in "Christian" and "Muslim" to test the game. Both words appeared without censorship.

I'm not saying Party Poker is anti-Semitic, but I think perhaps there is a notion out there that Jew is some sort of derogatory term. I know people will use it when calling a friend cheap or when someone tries to nickel-and-dime them, and I don't appreciate that. If you call me a Jew, however, I'll say "yup." I am. I have nothing to hide. I'm Jewish and proud of it.

To think that the term for a person of my religion is now some sort of derogatory term greatly disturbs me. What kind of connotations does that word bring with it now? I don't know. I don't know why the people at Party Poker feel it's necessary to cover up the word Jew. It didn't cover up "Hebrew" or "Judaism" when Brad entered them in. So what's the deal? If anyone can explain this to me, please let me know when the term Jew stopped referring to someone of Jewish beliefs and began meaning something negative. Until then, I'm proud to be a Jew regardless of what Party Poker might do.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Give me Kerry or give me death

...He chose death.

A 25-year-old Georgian apparently killed himself at the World Trade Center site in Manhattan over the weekend as a result of George W. Bush's reelection. Now, I can only assume this man, Andrew Veal, was a democrat...and as a democrat myself, I must say this does not reflect well on us. I voted for Kerry, and when Bush won, I wasn't exactly thrilled, but I'm still alive.

His friends, family and coworkers all said that this was a form of protest on his part and that the location of the former WTC site was symbolic. Maybe Veal thought that Bush did in fact know about what was going to happen on Sept. 11, 2001, and he allowed it to happen. I suppose Veal's alledged actions are a symbol of Bush "allowing" another person to die at that same site.

Personally, I don't believe Bush would have allowed those attacks, so I do not agree with the "symbolism" of Veal's actions. No national leader turns his back when his country loses that many lives. That theory is ridiculous.

What else is ridiculous is that he supposedly committed suicide because Bush won the election. SUICIDE! It's my belief that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. In this case, that problem would be solved in four years. Maybe that seems like a long time to wait, but if the alternative is death then four years is nothing.

I believe Veal's actions represent something very troubling about our country. He apparently attempted to use suicide as a form of protest. I can't begin to summarize just how asinine that is.

As an American citizen, the guy had the right to vote. Vote against Bush if you want. That's your right. It's not your right to commit suicide. Suicide is a crime. It's murder.

I don't know what was going through this guy's head when he did that, but I can't believe that people would actually kill themselves over an election. Yes, this was the "most important election of our lives" according every political commentator on television, but because it's the most important election of our lives, maybe we should at least live out our lives and see how it turns out. I know that many people threatened to move to Canada if Bush won, and I found out a few people did try heading north of the border. If faced with the dilemma of choosing Canada or death, I'd choose Canada.

But seriously, I hope people see just how stupid this is. Some might say I'm being insensitive to the issue of suicide, but under the circumstances which he apparently killed himself, I can't see this act as being anything more than a childish rant taken to an extreme.

On another note, I would also like to express my extreme frustration about where this man chose to take his life. When the planes hit the towers on Sept. 11 every American's life changed forever, especially those in New York City and Washington. Thousands of people became victims and countless others became heroes. Firefighters and police officers gave their lives to help save others. An enemy attacked us. They killed Americans. It was the worst attack on American soil ever. I cannot express just how sorry I feel for anyone who lost a loved one on that day. That was truly a tragedy.

What this man did disgraces that. Damn you Andrew Veal. You are not a martyr for anything respectible so don't try to be. You are not in the same category of people who were killed on that site three years ago. You aren't a victim. You are a murderer. Just like the hijackers, you too are responsible for taking a life on that very same site.

Friday, November 05, 2004


With Thursday's computer crash, I scrambled to find a computer with Photoshop to redo my copy block project for my online journalism class. My roommate asked if the teacher would give me an extention because of what had happened.

"This If I don't have my thing in class he'll look at me and say 'If this was the real world, you'd be fired.' I just need to redo the damn thing."

I eventually found a computer lab with Adobe Photoshop loaded onto its computers. It was late Thursday afternoon and I needed to eat before volleyball practice that night. I decided I'd come in at 8 a.m. Friday morning, two hours before class and do the project...again.

I woke up this morning at 7 a.m. I brushed my teeth, made scrambled eggs (and they were good), cursed my broken computer, and left. I got to the computer lab at 8:15 a.m. I immediately got to work. Within an hour, I had put together what I considered to be a work of art. I emailed it to my roommate to show off.

"Brad, take a look at how this thing turned out. I'm happy," read the email. I was going to pull it off. I printed it out, stuffed it in my backpack, and took off for class.

When I got to the building, I was 30 minutes early. My teacher was in Annenberg's lobby as usual meeting with a student. I acknowledged him, said hi and made my way to the bathroom. When I came back into the lobby, the student he was talking to was gone. He called me over.

He told me my blogs could be better...the usual.

"You'll like this week," I said. "It's about my battle with tech support people."

I explained to my professor about my computer troubles and how I lost a big paper as well as the project for his class.

"You know, Josh, there are computer labs all over campus that students have access to," he said.

Thank you Mr. Information. I'm aware there are computer labs. Maybe he didn't mean it like that, but I wasn't in a good enough mood to not be upset. Don't talk to me assuming that I didn't do the work and won't be handing anything in. I fucking did it. I did it this morning. I might have only worked on it for an hour, but damn it it's good.

"Oh, I did," I said back. I was so pissed. After all the shit I had dealt with the day before - the computer crash, my car problems, retyping an entire paper, and searching for a computer with Photoshop - I didn't want to hear this guy lecture me about responsibility because he thought I may not have it. I wasn't about to start making excuses for myself. I had excuses. I had plenty, but this wasn't a time for that.

"Does it have fire in it?" he asked. The story was about a fire. If the project calls for a "dominant image" and it's about a fire, then YES I'll put fire in the image. I didn't have the patience for a comment like that after the past 24 hours I'd had.

"Yes. Here." I pulled it out of my backpack and threw it on the table in front of us. At that point, I was ready for an F. I didn't even care. Just the fact that I did the project when he thought I didn't was good enough for me. He couldn't deny that I at least tried to put something together after losing my original project.

"This is what I was looking for," he said. He picked it up and looked it over, seemingly happy about my work. I didn't understand why and I didn't care. I just wanted to make it through the day without more problems piling up.

After critiquing my work, he put it back down on the table, pulled out a red pen and wrote the following on my copy block:

99 A

"Are you joking?" I said.

"Why would I joke about that," my professor responded candidly.

HELL YEAH! I thought to myself. HELL YEAH! I FUCKIN' DID IT! After all the crap I put up with this week, I came through and did a fuckin' awesome copy block. I knew I thought it was good, but with this teacher, I can never tell. Talk about an Adrenalin rush. Hopefully I can keep it up. Maybe I should do all my assignments an hour before class.

...or maybe not.

Thank you Glendal the goddess

If you read Thursday's blog entry about my computer meltdown then you understand just how stressed out I've been since yesterday morning. Today provided some well-needed relief. I would like to take this time to thank the tech support representative who did the one thing no other rep could: solve my computer problems.

I called tech support this afternoon in a desperate attempt to find someone who could help me with my computer. I went through the touch-tone maze of options before finally getting through to a representative.

"Hi this is Glendal. How may I help you today?"

"I'd like to speak with a supervisor," I said. I was in a bad mood. I was not ready for another gruling day in an uphill battle against uncooperative tech support reps.

"Oh, okay. Can I have your phone number first to pull up the account."

I gave her the number.

"Mr. Feldman?"


"Thank you, and what is the nature of the problem so that I can tell the supervisor?" she asked.

"I've spent the past 36 hours trying to find someone who will acknowledge the three-year warranty I purchased for my computer," I said. I was so sick of this process. "Each time I call yall, you say that I don't have a warranty and that I'm not covered and I just need my computer fixed. So whatever I have to do to get someone to recognize my warranty's existance, I wanna do."

"Yes, here it is. A three year warranty purchased last August from Sony Style with the computer, correct?"

"Uh...yeah!" I said. I was shocked. She found it.

"You had it faxed over to us, correct?"

"Yeah, I did. Yall got it?" I couldn't believe it.

"Yes, I have it right here," said Glendal.

"Thank you!" I cried out. "I've been trying to get someone in your offices to find the proof of that warranty, and you did it. Everyone I talked to yesterday said they couldn't find the fax. Thank you so much."

"Yes, now tell me exactly what's wrong with the computer and I'll put it in my report then we can get it fixed."

"Just...get it fixed? No redirecting my calls. You can help?"

"Yes," she said, somewhat confused by my questions.

"Then you must be the only rep who can because it seems like I talked to all the rest of them yesterday morning and afternoon," I said. "What'd you say your name was?"


"Well, Glendal, you are awesome. In that case I don't need to speak to your supervisor, but if you talk to him, tell him you deserve a promotion and everyone else needs to be fired," I joked. It was such a relief to have a rep who didn't send me through a maze of 1-800 phone numbers with no clear solution to my problem in sight. But now Glendal had the solution. She said she could help. She said she had a copy of my purchase of the warranty. This was it!

I gave her the description of what was wrong with my computer. She said she would have a box sent to my apartment for me to pack up the computer and send it back to Sony for repairs.

"And that's it?" I asked, puzzled by the simplicity of the process.

"That's it," Glendal said.

"Great, thank you Glendal."

"Thank you for calling Sony."

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Tech support was no support

This morning, I woke up at 7:30 a.m. to print a paper for today's EDCO class. After having a cold for over a week, I took a breath as I got out of bed. Ahhhhhhh. I can breathe. My nose was no longer congested. My throat wasn't sore. Today was going to be great. I sat down in front of my laptop computer and hit the space bar to wake it up.


I hit it a few more times. The screen flickered. I saw my background and a few open windows.


The screen died. It just died. I held down the power button to shut off the computer. When it was off, I hit the power button to turn it back on, hoping the problem would magically go away. All of the sudden, the screen lit up. The word "VAIO" was glowing in front of me. It was working.


Nope. I lost it. I heard the computer booting up despite the monitor's inability to display anything. I grabbed my phone and called my dad's office's computer guru, Richard, for advice. After try several troubleshooting techniques, none of which did any good, he gave me a phone number for Sony tech support.


Tech support people are the single most difficult people on the planet to deal with. Before you can talk to them, however, you must wander aimlessly throught a maze of "please press 1 now." I dialed the number.

"Hello, and welcome..." The robotic voice prompted me though the maze, but not with my touchtone key pad. Instead, this prompt wanted to hear my voice. "Please state the name of the product."

"Vaio laptop," I said.

"A notebook computer," the voice responded. "Did I get that correct?"

"Yes," I said. I felt like an idiot. What was this voice going to do for me. I wanted to speak to a human being, but there was no voice prompt for that.

"What is the ID number? It is a 15-digit number located on the bottom of the computer next to the barcode," the voice said. I didn't have 15-digit number. I have several smaller numbers, the longest 8 numerals. To make matters worse, there were three barcodes on the bottom of my computer, each with numbers under them. One by one, I read them into the phone and one by one they were rejected.

"I'm having some trouble understanding you," the voice said. Gee thanks. Meanwhile I'm stuck in front of a blank computer screen with a paper due at 2 p.m. this afternoon and a project from my online journalism class due tomorrow saved somewhere behind the dark screen. "Let me connect you with the next available representative."


Or so I thought. I waited for more than 20 minutes before a representative came to my rescue. She listened to my problem, thought for a moment, and said the two sentences I did not want to hear:

"I'm sorry, I can't help you with that," she said. "I can transfer you to someone who can help. Okay?"


Another 10 minutes passed. Eventually, a tech support receptionist picked up. "Hello, my name is Andre," he said. He listened to my problem and said that he too could not help me because his help hotline was only for non-computer electronics. He gave me a number to call and hung up.

I called the number. Now the frustration of not having a working computer decreased, but the stresses resulting from the knowledge that my assignments were seemingly lost intensified. After navigating through another voice-prompt maze of options, I convinced the talking robot to patch me through to a human.

"Yes, I can help you with that," he said. What a relief. Finally, I found someone capable of helping me with my problem. This man would tell me where to send my laptop for repairs. This man would succeed where previous operators failed. This man was going to solve my problem.

"When did you purchase the product?" he said.

"August 2003," I said, knowing that this nightmare was almost over.

"Oh," he said, somewhat taken back by my response. "Then the warranty has expired and I can't help you."

"No!" I yelled out. The build up of anger and stress of the morning had bubbled to the surface. "I have an extended warranty. The computer is covered for three years."

"Okay, well we don't handle the extended warranty procedures, but would you like the number for Sony's Extended Warranty Services?"

"Yes please." I took down the number, cringing with every movement of my pen. This was not happening. I called them up. After several minutes of giving out information about the computer and about myself to Zacharius, he delt me the biggest blow of the morining.

"Uh, we don't have your warranty on record," he said. "Do you have a copy of your receipt?"

I didn't have a copy. My dad had the copy somewhere back home. "No." I was totally deflated.

"How did you purchase the computer?" Zacharius asked.

"Online, from Sony. Why?"

He told me that I could call Sony Style, the supposed online seller, and have them fax my receipt for the purchase of the computer and the extended warranty to Sony's Extended Warranty Service Center.

"Okay," I said. "What's the number?" I took down the number. It was now 9 a.m. I had been on the phone with different tech support agencies for an hour and a half.

I called Sony Style, gave them my information, told them what I need, and had them fax the receipt to the extended warranty hotline. Now I was making some progress. I called back the warranty hotline. I asked for the same representative I had previously talked to. I didn't want to go through the explanation again.

"Please hold."

I held. I held for thirty minutes. Finally, Zacharius picked up.

"Hi, this is Josh Feldman. I spoke with you a few minutes ago about the laptop with the broken monitor. I had Sony Style fax you the receipt. Did you receive it?"

"Yes, I have not received it," he said.

"Wait, you have or have not gotten it?" I asked.

"No. Don't have it."

"Okay thank you. Bye."

UGH! I couldn't deal with it anymore. I had to take my car to a dealership at 10 a.m. and now I had to retype a 3-page paper and redo a graphic. I rushed my car to the dealership, spent 30 minutes there trying to understand why they couldn't just copy the key to my car so I could have another.

"It will take an hour," said Miguel, the man at the dealership. You can wait while we do it or we can have a shuttle take you home and pick you up this afternoon to come get your car."

I took the shuttle back to my apartment. I didn't have time to wait at the dealership when I had two major assignments to do over. I hopped on my bike. For the two minutes via bike from my apartment to an on-campus computer lab, I was Lance Armstrong. I was so frustrated with everything that had transpired that morning. I have never pedalled a bike that fast.

I sat down in front of a computer screen, opened my backpack, and pulled out the assignment sheet with the paper topic on it. I churned out three pages. Good enough, I though. I take the class Credit/No Credit anyway. As long as I turn it in, I'll be okay. I printed it out and stuffed it in my backpack.

Now the next assignment: my online journalism assignment. Luckily I remembered the general set up of my now lost assignment. I searched the computer for Adobe Photoshop.


It wasn't there. I couldn't do the assignment! Out of all my classes, why online journalism. The professor is just waiting for an excuse to drop my from the class. I had the perfect assignment. It was a sure A. I could put together something similar before tomorrow's class, but I needed photoshop! I started logging on to other computers in the lab.

No Photoshop.

No Photoshop.

No Photoshop.

None of them had it. What the hell was I supposed to do?

Right now, I'm in that computer lab, slouched down in my chair, totally depressed. I honestly don't know if I'll find a computer with Photoshop in time to redo that assignment. He said we could draw up the assignment by hand, but after what I had done on my computer over the course of the past few days, I don't feel like doing it at all. I want to take the F, bike back to my apartment, crawl into my bed and die. Today has been hell, and it's only 1 p.m.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Fame, fortune and funny

If you want to accomplish something, set a goal. Set a goal to hit; have something to strive for. If you try to just “do your best” you may never fully live up to your potential. I coasted through my job this summer without setting a true goal – other than doing “as much as I could” to help my office be the best – and found myself feeling somewhat disappointed. I knew I had succeeded, but I didn’t exactly hit a goal. As much as my managers had urged my to set a fixed goal, I never saw the purpose.

One week ago, I realized why goals are important. I realized what can happen if you strive for something.

Future comic legend (and my roommate) Brad Williams had a goal. After seeing comedian Carlos Mencia perform a year and a half ago at the Brea Improv, Brad became inspired. Carlos’ type of humor and his attitude toward life in general motivated Brad to become a comedian. He went to open-mic nights at comedy clubs around LA with some untested material and a goal: to one day open for Carlos Mencia, his new idol.

Each time Carlos performed in LA, Brad faithfully sat in the audience, laughing hysterically as Carlos did his routine. After each show, Carlos would shake hands with audience members and sign autographs, and each time Brad would be there. Show after show, Carlos became more and more familiar with Brad and his dream of being a comedian.

Last Sunday, at the Ontario Improv, Brad drove out to see Carlos do his show. He’d been anticipating it for weeks. After the first of two shows, Brad went out to see Carlos, shake his hand, and tell him about his most recent experiences with comedy. Carlos invited Brad to stay for the second show for free as a special guest of his. Just before Carlos’ opening comic, Steve Trevino, took the stage, Carlos said to Steve, “Hey, put Brad up.”

“Huh?” Brad’s head whipped around, wondering what Carlos could have possibly meant by that.

“You’ve got material, right?” Carlos asked.

“Well, yeah,” said Brad.

Without time to even think about what was going on, Brad was on the stage with the word “IMPROV” behind him. He was opening for Carlos Mencia.

STANDING TALL: Brad performed eight 10-minute sets this week at the Ontario Improv opening for Carlos Mencia. Posted by Hello

“If you don’t like me, don’t worry, I only do short sets,” he said as he got on stage.

As his set came to a close and he introduced the next comic Steve, Brad wondered what this meant. What would come from this performance? He found out shortly thereafter when Carlos took the stage.

Carlos spoke about how every so often he chooses an up-and-coming comic to mentor and because the audience laughed at Brad’s set, Carlos decided to take him on as a protégé. Brad listened offstage. He just accomplished his goal. He opened for Carlos Mencia. What else could there be beyond this?

After the show, Carlos asked Brad to open for him the next week as he continued performing at the Ontario Improv. Brad opened eight shows last week, each more funny than the one before it. After each show, Carlos and Steve gave Brad advice on how to make his jokes funnier and how to work the crowd. His goal to open for Carlos Mencia will no doubt help springboard Brad’s career.

Even though Brad did find himself in the right place at the right time, his preparation of material and previous open-mic performances proved essential in his accomplishment of his goal. Now he has a new goal: to headline at the Improv. Now he sees his true potential. Now you’ll hear his name in 20 years and remember reading this. You’ll think about Brad’s goal and how accomplishing it changed his life.

What’s your goal?

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