Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dark Lord Day 2008, my experience

Dark Lord Day 2008 was yesterday April 26th, 2008 at the Three Floyds Brewery in Muster, IN. The event centers around the brewery's release of their Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, which is generally thought to be a top rated, award winning beer. The beer is made in a small batch and only available at the brewery on the release day. They have been making it an event for several years now, and this year was expected to see a large turnout.
Steve, Lauren, Fred and I decided to take a trip down there and see what it is all about. (note: Muster is "closer" than you think, as compared to Naperville). Fred drove, as he is "in training" and was planning on not drinking very much. Thanks very much Fred. The weather was pretty cold as compared to the previous week's weather, and it was very windy, but also sunny. We were moderately prepared for the cold, but I should have worn a stocking hat and brought some gloves (and sunscreen).
I will sum up our experience in one word: Unprepared. We had no idea what to expect and dove in head first. We got there right at 11AM, which is when the beer was scheduled to go on sale. First thing we noticed was the extremely long line, which was the line to buy bottles of Dark Lord. We quickly got in the line after walking around the various industrial park parking lots through which the line was winding around and around. Check this google map I made to show approximately where the line was.
Most of the day was spent rotating the 4 of us in and out of the line, going into the brewpub or to the tents they setup outside to buy drafts of beer and food and go to the bathroom and stuff. We did get to try all three different drafts of Dark Lord (regular, vanilla, and bourbon). And we did get to eat some really good BBQ, sausage and weiners all on pretzel bread, and it was all excellent. We made friends with the people in line in front and behind us and shared our beer and food back and forth with them.
However, after 4 hours of waiting, some of the staff came out and determined that a point about 30 yards ahead of us in line would be the end of the sales of bottles of Dark Lord. Fred and I walked into and out of the warehouse a few times trying to make our own estimates of how many people were in line in front of us. We determined the same thing, no dice for us. Failure. So we decided that we had experienced what we could experience, and left the line to go home.
If we decide to come back next year, we WILL be more prepared. We will bring a bunch of stuff to setup camp outside the brewery. We will bring plenty of food and drink to complement the beer and food that is available at the brewery. We will bring chairs and perhaps a canopy tent or something to sit around so that we don't have to stand or sit on the ground. We will setup a system to rotate people in and out of the line and we WILL get there much earlier in the day to ensure that we are able to buy our cases of Dark Lord. And after we buy the beer, we will have a sweet space to hang out in and carry on and stuff with anyone who may stop by.
Thanks Three Floyds for a great event, but make more Dark Lord next year!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another Fart Sandwich Update

The Great Fart Sandwich, documented heavily on this blog, also has a BoingBoing account.


Ordering my copy of Grand Theft Auto 4 today. But I am not as excited as some other people in my office. I don't want to have any high expectations so that when I decide the game sucks, then I can tell other people...I told you so!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I can't believe I am finding myself at this point, but I am considering grad school. I swore that I never wanted to ever never ever go back to school after I was done with college. But here I find myself considering the idea.

Time to buy the Kaplan Gmat Book.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dirty Jobs

I have watched the show Dirty Jobs on Discovery Channel many times. The show's host, Mike Rowe, who does voice over and hosting work for several discover channel shows. Anyway, I was looking at the blog Post Secret, and came across this picture, I thought it was awesome.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

SEO worked for my friend Fart Sandwich!

My SEO quest to get searches for "Fart Sandwich" to successfully display results for my friend, the great Fart Sandwich, was a success! Google searches for "Fart Sandwich" now list content relating to my friend as the 3rd through 5th, and 7th, 11th and 12th results. This is very good news indeed.

As a recap, Fart Sandwich is probably most well known for his amazing skills at Lumines Time Attack, where he placed 3rd in the xBox Global Arcade Challenge competition back in December of 2006. There is also a semi-popular you-tube video displaying his skill. Most recently, Fart Sandwich has been working on his Digg profile :)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Chase = suck, still

Banks are greedy, that is how they make money. But JP Morgan Chase Bank is VERY greedy. I paid my United Mileage Plus Credit Card (division of Chase) last month on March 9th about 5 days before it was due. I paid it online by logging into, clicking on pay credit card link in the credit card box. (I also have Chase bank accounts). Using this feature initiates an ACH pull by the credit card from my bank account. Virtually 100% of my payments over the last few years to this card have been from the bank account side, initiating the ACH push from the bank to the credit card. This time, I noticed the easy link (been there for a while, I think I even used it once before), clicked on it and setup the payment. At the bottom of the initial screen, it gave me the option to set the date I wanted to pay, and it was defaulted to March 10th (next day). At the time, I said to myself..."Why would I want to pay this tomorrow? What is wrong with today?"I forced the date to the 9th, and neglected to notice that there would be a '$15 FEE ASSESSED FOR THIS PAYMENT'. Yes! Well. $14.95 to be exact. I didn't notice the fee, I just clicked submit, why would they ever charge me for MOVING MONEY BETWEEN DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS AT THE SAME BANK!!!!!

I got my statement last night, noticed this fee (it was obvious actually, a charge that didn't look like the other charges right in the middle of the statement, and right under the payment for the previous month's statement), and I was concerned to say the least. So this morning, when I was good and ready for a fight, I called Chase, told them that I never saw any warning(I didn't really see it at the time), and there was no way I would have agreed to a $15 fee for doing something "rush" when the payment was not late (true). There are at least 2 or 3 other ways I could pay the statement without incurring any fees. It would be rediculous to think that I agreed to this fee. Lady phone rep stood her ground. She said the warning (pop-up she called it, but I figured out today it was a 'somewhat' clear warning embded right above the payment confirmation information, and displaying the $14.95 as part of the payment) is always displayed, that the "charge" was valid, and that she could not reverse it. After 5 minutes of arguing with her, telling her it was rediculous, etc...I finally pulled the supervisor card. I was transferred to phone rep guy. He explained to me the fee again, said that it is clearly shown, and said that I probably just clicked right through and didn't notice (well...I did...but not that this guy would know). I went on to say that the guy was calling me stupid because I can't read (classic for me really, I never really read things completely). The guy gave a half apology, saying of course he wasn't calling me stupid and saying he wanted to 'work with me'. Good one phone rep guy. I offerred to meet him half way, but he was already ahead of me, saying he was going to waive the whole thing. He obviously didn't care to argue. Good for you Chase phone rep guy. You realized that I am not some dumb ass who would blindly accept being nickel and dimed to death by the giant mega-corp that you work for.

I was "" <-that close to having him transfer me to retention so I could get them to waive the fee or cancel the card I don't really need. There are a thousand credit cards out there, all of which would glady have me as a customer. I don't really need United miles, I don't fly that often, and any other card's rewards program is probably just as good for my personal financial situation.


I deal with people at Chase a lot through my own personal banking, but mostly through my job. Our company has extensive dealings with many different areas within chase. Generally I find the different departments to have varying levels of suck. I will list them in reverse order of most suck (#1=best at sucking):

#5 - Chase treasuery services. These people are in charge of wiring money. They have to deal with huge sums of money changing hands in split seconds. The average rep knows exactly what is going on and exactly what they are doing. They get annoyed with you when YOU don't know what You are doing. The people that setup these services have 95% clue and %5 suck, because they work at Chase, duh. Chase treasuary services suck the least of any people I have ever dealt with at Chase. They sent me a survey after my last interaction with them. I wanted to give a glowing review, but realized that their service wasn't really anything special, but in comparison to the bone heads I will mention below, they were OUTSTANDING! So I gave them slightly above average marks, with a extra note telling them as much.

#4 - Chase Credit Card services - Historically, I haven't had huge problems with these guys. They typically are easy to reach on the phone, speak Midwestern english fairly well, and can almost always fix your problem. They have even introduced a few GOOD services, such as improved fraud filtering, where it calls you to verify if some charges are against your normal pattern - annoying at first, but I appreciate it. However, over the last 1-2 years or so, even simple things have started to suck. My story above is the most recent example. Another great thing they have started to do is make you listen to a long advertisement for something you don't want while you are on the phone waiting for your new updated expiration date credit card to become "active." And finally, after several years now, they have still failed to intergrate at any meaningful level with the larger Chase organization, leading to the stupid problem I experienced above.

#3 - Business Financing - I appreciate these guys for the work they do with my company. Most of them are career financial guys just trying to make a decent living and support their families. However, they like to take their sweet time when processing your requests. Individually they don't have enough power to really help you with very much besides acting as a go between to their underwriting department (who, surprising I don't really have any problems with, they simply evaluate risk, not hard for people that specialize in that). They could probably do a bit better in their customer service I think.

#2 - Business banking - With the exception of a handful of people that work the business banking call center, the peope who work in the Chase Business banking divisions only care about how many new accounts/services/features they can get you to sign up for. They see businesses with nice fat wallets that they can milk because people in business say "oh I need that!" These people are former branch VPs who have successfully moved up the chain because they probably have really good sales (or some other equally revlent) skills. Of course, they are lacking a lot of clue when it comes to resolving simple issues your business faces, having to esclate to some person or department. They rely on other departments and staff below them to research your issues. I really wish I could say nice these about Chase Business bankers, but they just don't ever help me when I need them to do something.

#1 - Consumer banking - With the exception of the average teller (who couldn't give a shit about you, but is mearly concerned that their drawer blances out at the end of their shift, but they are usually very friendly and rarely make mistakes), peope who work in the Chase consumer banking division (similar to the business bankers) only care about how many new accounts/services/features they can get you to sign up for. The average "Branch VP" (age 25 and everyone is a vice president of course) only wants to get paid on new business, and could give two shits about servicing you after the account is open and they got their comission or promotion or whatever. They are also generally clueless on just about everything besides "opening a new checking account." These people are the very epotimy of everything that is wrong in corporate culture. I dispise everyone I have ever dealt with.

#0 - Higher-ups at Chase - These guys really take the cake in the suck. They get a 0. Worse than my scale even goes. In their ever present drive to inflate their own portfolios by getting that stock price up just another dollar, they force every department to nickel and dime and every angle. Bait you with enticing advertising and sell you crap you don't want. They dictate general policies on funds holds, fees, random stuff that generally makes my life more difficult and all for their own personal gain. They see their SMB and consumer customers as numbers. Numbers that they can squeeze on an anual basis for more $$. These guys are responsible for general customer disatisifaction that is RAMPANT among everyone I have ever talked to that has ever dealt with Chase.

In conclusion, I hope Chase can improve. Though I have strong doubts. Giant corporations generally grow and grow and get bought and sold and become big unwieldy giants until eventually they are split up and you are now apart of someone else, who equally sucks, but in a totally new and exciting way!