Category Archives: Madness

Cell Phones and Cars? An honest look into the cell phone ban discussions…

So in the news recently, there have been alot of talking about potentially banning cell phones and possibly even all electronics inside vehicles. Is everybody really okay with this?

Personally, I am a driver who texts(gasp!). I understand that in trying to ban cell phones in cars is only a way for us to try and keep people safe on the roads. I get that, really I do. My argument against a cell phone ban is that people have been getting in car accidents long before cell phones were available for just anybody to have. I can assure anybody reading this that if it’s not a cell phone distracting somebody behind the wheel, it’s going to be a billboard, fast food, putting on makeup, or even reading a newspaper. The people that are causing accidents are still going to cause accidents.

What is prompting me to write this little post is the amount a clever little bumper stickers that I’ve been seeing recently and quite frankly, it’s aggravating. On my route this morning I read one that says “OMG Plz dnt txt n drv. K? Thx byee.” to which I pulled up beside them as I was texting (or at least faking it) and smiling. If this is such a serious issue for you, then why make light of it with a silly little gimmick sticker? I’ve counted 5 other stickers on the back of vehicles this week.

For me, I am all for the electronics. I feel that they can be a distraction to a driver, but there are other things as well that can be a distraction that these people wouldn’t take too kindly to have to give up.

1) Fast Food – Last winter at a stoplight, I witnessed a pretty nasty accident that probably cost a city worker his job because of some lady with BOTH of her hands off her wheel, looking down at her shirt while holding a sandwich. She obviously slopped on herself and was looking to see where it went. What happened was she went left of center towards a plow truck who tried to get over and hit a car in the lane next to him.

Let’s get a petition going to put a ban on fast food drive thru windows, please!

2) It might have been last year or the year before, my hometown of Mansfield, Ohio had just started getting the scoreboard-esque billboards where they lit up and the picture changed every 30 seconds. The first accident that happened out near that billboard, somebody tried to have it taken down because it distracted her. As a community service, we’ll keep her in Ohio and have her stay away from the driving scene in Las Vegas.

All in favor of banning billboards with stuff to read on them, say I?

3) Putting on makeup in a car completely baffles me. I’ve witnessed people creeping down the road heading off road where you can see them in front of your car looking in their rear view mirror to apply their make-up for the day. Cell phones are really more distracting than this?

A ban on make-up in the car is what this country needs!

4) Lastly, I’ve seen people with the daily newspaper opened up across a steering wheel while a car was in motion. This one was multi-tasking at its finest! 😀

I guess what I’m trying to convey is that cell phones are not the cause of all these accidents… it’s the people! However, people these days have this sense of entitlement to where they feel like they know what is best for everybody and they will force it upon you at any given moment. To take things to the next level, these people are now proposing that ALL electronics should be banned in vehicles. If there were ever a time for a *facepalm, this would be a time. Not only would you not have a cell phone readily available to call in the case of an emergency, but you would no longer be allowed to use a gps, an ipod, or even a portable dvd player for your kids!

Where does it all end? I literally have NIGHTMARES about how our society is going to end up like the movie Idiocracy.

In closing, please share an honest comment with me regarding this matter. Help me understand what good can really come from banning electronics (or just cell phones) in vehicles. DO NOT send me a link with various car accident pictures unless you can prove to me they were texting at the time of impact. Be sure to click the ‘Follow’ button if you’re a WordPress user, ‘Follow’ me on twitter @Chatterbox4REAL, and subscribe to me on youtube at www.youtube.com/ChatterboxBrad! Thanks for checking this out!

Save Room 4 Love,

Brad (The Chatterbox)

Halloween Part 3: Pumpkin Carving!

Hey! Chatterbox back to share some fun Halloween Jack-o-Lanterns that we’ve done this year and then 2 from last year!

Traditional Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin
This one was done by my 3-year-old, Zoe. My wife, Amber drew on it with a sharpie, then Zoe cut it almost perfectly (with supervision, of course). Proud Daddy right here!

Elvis Silhouette Pumpkin
This was Amber’s Pumpkin for the year. She did a really nice job and will look great on display while I pass out candy this year (dressed as Elvis)!

Disney Rapunzel Pumpkin
I expected this one to be alot easier. I found the pattern on Disneyfamily.com because Zoe absolutely LOVES Tangled. This was not easy at all. All of the tiny little details in her hair were extremely difficult to get right. If you add the cheap little pumpkin saws I was using, and you have yourself the ingredients for disaster. I think it turned out ok though.

Lotso Huggin’ Bear Pumpkin
This was from last year’s set. It matched my costume! I found one of the promotional posters for Toy Story 3 and cropped his face out using Photoshop. From there, I made a stencil and printed it out! The rest is history! My favorite one (that I’ve carved) to date!

Chatterbox Brad Pumpkin
Last year, I had bought about 6 pumpkins and I was running out of ideas towards the end of our carving excursion last year. Previously, I created a high-resolution stencil of my face for another project online, so I decided to print it out and carve my face onto the pumpkin. This one was especially hard to complete because I was laughing the entire time. Who honestly carves a pumpkin of themselves? Honestly? Lol this was pretty outrageous, but I think it was my wife’s favorite. Whenever we start to talking about the pumpkins, she always bring it up. Gotta love her. She puts up with my madness!

In closing, I will do a better job next year of posting Halloween earlier. For kicks and giggles, I’ll include a tutorial on how to create your own stencil and then transfer them to a pumpkin! I’ve got many ways and ideas on how to do these and each year, I experiment more so I’ll be sure to share. In the meantime, please follow or subscribe and I’d love to hear comments or requests. Until next time…

Save Room 4 Love,

Brad (The Chatterbox)

Halloween Part 2: Decorations!

Welcome back to The Chatterbox Blog. We’re going extra spooktacular this month for Halloween, but it’s coming with a few struggles. Today, I am going to discuss my frustrations with decorations!

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved to decorate for Halloween. Even after the initial depression of no longer going trick-or-treating door to door in my neighborhood, I still enjoyed putting on a nice display of lights and decorations to enhance the experience for trick-or-treaters. This year, I am struggling more than ever with getting things out and I blame it on one thing… QUALITY! Since my wife and I moved into our home, I’ve been spending a couple hundred dollars each year to build up my Halloween decoration stash and it has grown rather large over the years (same with Christmas lights/decor). This year, I start to get everything out and over half of my lights no longer work and some of the ones that DO actually work, only half of them work. The pumpkin lights have busted off of the bulbs and so on. This has put a great deal of frustration on me this year to the point where I’m not looking past Halloween! I have my giant spider web in between my two large trees with an inflatable spider and some orange rope lights on the front deck where I’ll be passing out candy. That’s it!

Why is it that nobody makes QUALITY decoration items any more? The same can be said about Christmas decor as well. Growing up, it seemed like my parents had the same few strands of lights and set around decorations each and every year. Then when a bulb went bad, you could actually buy replacements that didn’t cost as much as the original set of lights.

So yeah, this year’s Halloween for me is a bust! I’m not even there yet and I’m not as excited for it. I also think a part of the reason is that my baby girl is 3 this year and pay attention to more things and has become afraid of certain things like Freddy, Wolfman, etc. so it’s hard to get enjoyment out of displaying the things if it’s just going to frighten her.

In closing, I believe next year will mark the year I begin to create my own decorations and bring the display back bigger, badder, and better than ever. Aside from maybe some lights here and there, I will no longer buy Halloween OR Christmas decorations until the quality improves… or until they re-release the inflatable Burl Ives Snowman from The Rudolph Cartoon lol. Until next time…

Save Room 4 Love,

Brad (The Chatterbox)

P.S. Next blog, I will share my Pumpkin carvings. I’ve got a couple good ones this year that I’m looking to do. We’ll see how they turn out! 😀

Halloween Part 1: Costumes!

Welcome back to The Chatterbox Blog. Today I will be discussing Halloween Costumes and how companies aren’t even trying any more.

Halloween is right around the corner and has got me thinking about what I am going to dress up as to pass out candy to the little ones coming up to my door for Trick or Treat night! I’ve decided that I’ll be recycling a costume I wore over 6 years ago just because it’s a killer hand-custom made costume that I’ve never wore it to pass out candy at my own house. However, I did look at the costumes in the stores and I must say that they’re quite upsetting.

First off, they’re overpriced! Who honestly justifies spending $20+ on some cheap costume cloth that happens to look like a Captain America suit or Batman. It’s all really the same pattern of pajamas, but now they’ve sewn in some muscles. Oooooh!

… and for the ladies…

Why is it that everything for the ladies has to be labeled “Sexy” and come with a skanky looking skirt that wouldn’t cover their butts even if they bought 2 of them and sewed them together? There was a big article recently about a JCPenny line of clothing that was “degrading to females” because it said something to the effect of “Forget homework, there’s a new Justin Bieber album out!” because it was said to be downplaying female intelligence. Really? Really! These teen shirts are unacceptible, but Women aren’t allowed to be a Zombie or Batman unless they look skanktastic. Crazy!

Alot of the poor selection of costumes has made me look to thrift stores like Salvation Army and creating my own costumes for Halloween. Peep my previous 3 years in Halloween costumes!

The Joker was my first costume in our home and only cost about 15 bucks to complete! The jacket was bought at The Salvation Army along with the pants and dress shirt and dyed to my liking. The wig was bought on clearance and spraypainted green. Add some clown make-up and viola!

Captain Hook was created out of a Lady’s Red Coat (also from Salvation Army), Hat  and Mustache from clearanced Halloween area, plastic hook from Big Lots, and random dress clothes bought at Salvation army as well.

Lots ‘O’ Huggin’ Bear was last years treat and he was a little pricey, but the result definately show it was worth it. Toy Story 3 had just come out last summer and was about to be released on DVD, so Lots ‘O’ was a fun character to be. The pattern template used was a Teddy Bear costume, but we did some customization for the head. We ended up forming it around a Motorcycle Helmet that wasn’t being used. This was my wife’s first attemtp at sewing for me and it was pretty awesome. I even went the extra mile and used Strawberry/Cotton Candy Body Spray to complete the full effect! The kids went nuts over it! The total cost was probably close to $100, but we still have the costume and it will soon be displayed once I set up an office. Best costume to date!

In closing, I think the store bought costumes could and SHOULD be alot better. I mean, Disney is trying to pass off a Muscle shirt with Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen on them as Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater Costumes. Tna Wrestling is trying to pass off a Muscle outfit, red sleevless shirt with a Championship belt ironed on, black pants, and a mustache as a Hulk Hogan costume! Very disappointing to see what companies feel the consumer should be buying! Anyway, I’d love to hear and see your custom made Halloween costumes! Keep the replies coming and…

Save Room 4 Love,

Brad (The Chatterbox)

Madness is not a requirement for this position, but it helps!

Welcome back, Chatterfolk. Today, I want to discuss various things I see or have seen in the Customer Service field.

1) The customer is always right… right?
The answer is only correct if the customer says “Man, I’m such an idiot!” or “I’m acting like such a jerkoff today!” but rarely is the customer actually right when they use that phrase. They’re basically trying to bully you into giving them their way… typically during an in-person encounter. It always makes for a fun scenario!

2) Hi, my name is (insert name here) and I…

 a) Have been a customer for a long time.
This usually means that they have goofed on something like let a coupon or gift certificate expire and they are looking you to do them a solid by letting it slide or are trying to get free product by working the system. A “long time” customer potentially knows the tricks of the trade and uses them to full advantage. A school supply company I used to work for (terrible company who doesn’t deserve a name mention) had order/account history on customers and without fail in patterns you would see original order, then a week later a no charge replacement, then another week later one more no charge replacement, and then finally a credit (if the dollar amount is low enough, they’ll just tell you to hang onto the product with no questions asked). This would go on for years with these customers. Essentially, these schools/daycares/offices were getting 3 of the same product for the price of nothing.

b) refer to themselves as a “Top Customer” or “Best Customer”…
These customers will put you in that awkward conversation of asking for coupons and money off just because they label themselves as a top customer. I think there should be a rule of thumb that if you’re denied for a discount more than twice, the CSR should be able to yell at the customer with no hard feelings. I understand that everybody is living tight these days, but organizations need to make money to stay afloat too! Just saying…

In closing, the reason why I’m writing this is because I’ve found myself doing this lately and I must admit, I’m a little disappointed in myself. The same things that irritate me, are the same things I do when I’m on the customer end of a phone call. Don’t get me wrong, I rarely talk on the phone outside of work, but I make sure to work all angles when I am on the phone. If I get really desperate, I threaten with turning the company in to the Better Business Bureau. I actually pulled this card last night due to a $20 charge on my Chase card (that I hadn’t activated in 5 years) that “went through” because it was a small dollar amount. I replied to them with “if it’s such a small dollar amount, then you’ll have no problem in eating it”. Boom goes the dynamite!

Final Thought: The reason why businesses are hiring people who barely speak our language is because of people like myself and you who try to weasel a couple of bucks out of organizations. These people from overseas are like a rock (no emotions), and can use the language barrier to their advantage when there is a difficult customer on the line. Even the “top customer” type who will stay on the phone longer to try to get an extra dime out of you will be dying to wrap the call up. Nobody wants to be on the phone with somebody when you don’t understand half of what they’re saying. Am I right?

Save Room 4 Love,

Brad (The Chatterbox)

That’s so “High School”!

 

Do you ever get the feeling that some people have never really gotten over High School? For some, it was the best of times. For others, it was the worst.

I was having a conversation with somebody a couple of weeks ago and the topic came up about how they like to creep on former classmates’ facebook and myspace pages. They creep not because they think somebody may have a hot swimsuit photo on there, but moreso to see how “successfull” these people have become… if they have families, great jobs, nice houses, dogs, etc. I gotta say, I appreciate some good petty behavior but I was a little irked by this. I kind of dropped the conversation after that.

High School for me was just kind of bleh. I wouldn’t consider myself one of the “popular” kids, but I wasn’t a door-mat either. I just felt like I had better things I could be doing with my time.

Just a couple weeks ago as well I was added to the group by a facebook friend to “You went to Madison Comprehensive High School if…” which raises a problem with me because how can people just include other people to a group. It makes me want to create a bunch of silly groups and add people to them. “Wow Mike, I didn’t know you’re a proud supporter of the Granny Panties club” or “Hey Yvonne, I didn’t know you LARPed. Awesome!” but I digress…

I read through some of the stuff and honestly, it doesn’t do much for me. One of my buddies posted about the Otis Spunkmyer cookies and can you guess what the fondest memory of THAT guy I have?

My wife (then girlfriend) was out and about driving on 546 (over by Bellville/Lexington) in a winding patch doing a little better than 5mph over the speed limit when a car zips across the double lines and goes around me to cut me off. On the way by, I decided to let road rage get the better of me and I flew the bird at him. Upon making eye contact with him, I noticed that it was Mr. Cookieman himself who had a young child in the front seat of his car as well. Essentially, I flipped off Mr. Cookieman and a Small Child. So now Mr. Cookieman is pissed slamming on his breaks trying to get me to rear end him and then ALSO flipping me off from behind his seat. Classy! At least you’re not letting your kid see how much of a maniac you are… if the passing me on a winding road wasn’t proof enough.

To say the least, it’s one of the last times I flew the bird in the car. I blame my mother entirely for it because she is a trained professional when it comes to road rage and freaking out.

In closing, I’m not bitter about High School. There really is nothing to be bitter about. I just don’t have time to waste reading people’s comments who I’m not friends with about how they were mean to a teacher back then and how they deserved it. In today’s time, we call that bullying so be very proud that you made substitute teachers cry. Until next time…

Save Room 4 Love,

Brad (The Chatterbox)