February 27, 2004

still on the Tivo fence?

Amazon.com has the 40-hour version for $138.94 after rebate. Throw in one of these ($69.88 after $60 in rebates this week) and you've got one honkin Tivo.

February 25, 2004

Starbucks hates the lactose intolerant

So yesterday, Tracy and I go into Starbucks on West End. The main purpose is work-related - for me to buy $100 worth of gift cards for our single adult Sunday School teachers. So I buy this huge stack of gift cards, charge it to the church credit card, and then order a drink for myself - the usual - decaf tall soy no-whip mocha. This is a lactose-free drink. Starbucks charges $0.40 more for soy milk, so I already feel like they are discriminating against me.

I always watch the "barista" make my drink so I know that they are putting soy milk in it. A week or so after I was out of the hospital (with a recent bout of diverticulitis), I ordered my usual drink, and forgot to watch them make it. Of course, later on, when I was sick as a dog, I realized that they didn't put soy milk in it.

Anyway, back to yesterday. I watched the pour the soy milk, so I figured I was okay. Then the barista calls out my drink, "decaf tall soy with whip mocha." One of the other Starbucks flunkies noticed the error at the same time I did. This would have been a problem if she just made the drink again. BUT NO. I saw her scoop the whip cream out with a spoon! That just won't work. I think she thought I didn't see that. BUT NO. So, I told her I was LACTOSE INTOLERANT, and it needed to be done again. My question is, I spent a hundred dollars with there before I even ordered my drink, so how much would I have to spend for them to get it right??????????

On another lactose intolerance related note, I went out to eat at Green Hills Grille in Cool Springs with my in-laws on Saturday night while Patrick was playing keyboard at dinner theater. I forgot to order my fish sandwich without cheese (I was preoccupied with making sure it was a whole wheat bun), and so it came with cheese, and said I would just scrape it off. At that exact moment, the Green Hills Grille customer crisis team swings into action. Before I can say anything that plate was wisked away. A few minutes later, they put a new plate in front of me with a steaming hot new piece of fish. The server said, "there's no dairy." They even left off the tartar sauce (which I can have), and the butter off the vegetables. They didn't even make us pay for my entree. I think other establishments could learn from Green Hills Grille.

February 19, 2004

itunes - 5 out of 10... but I have to confess...

As you can see by the talley, my iTunes contest numbers have risen significantly since the last post. However, this is because people on the Internet just can't seem to leave well enough alone when they figure out how to beat the system. They have to post it for the world to see.

So I figure that I'm pretty much sticking it to Pepsi with these winning bottlecaps. I haven't seen any breakdown of how the promotional downloads work... where the 99 cents goes. Previous reports are that the majority of the money goes to the record label, and I wouldn't see them granting 100 million gratis uses of their songs, so either Apple, Pepsi, or both are ponying up the cash to buy these things. Since Pepsi gets the $1.06 or so for each bottle (probably $.50 wholesale) they're probably footing the bill. And since I have no vested interest in the long-term success of Pepsi, I think I'll still purchase my Diet Pepsi using the 25 degree method. :-D

Of course, Apple probably knows their customers and the Internet community well enough to predict this happening. At least no one is threating the sites with the DMCA. Yet.

And, as previously prophecied, the bottle caps are showing up on eBay.

February 18, 2004

first pictures of our new niece!


The third one is annotated for the ultrasound-impaired (like me.)

February 17, 2004

iTunes - 1 out of 6 is baaad...

So my statistics have just cratered. I have just opened my fifth Diet Pepsi with the dreaded PLEASE PLAY AGAIN message. Only one of these six have had a winning iTunes number on it. Granted, every cap I open has a 33% chance, but I'm only at 16-2/3% as of today. At this rate, I'll need two consecutive winning caps to get me back on track.

The good news is, I don't hate Diet Pepsi as much as I thought I did. I am a big Coca-Cola advocate... you almost have to be with the proximity to Atlanta... but the Diet Pepsi has some of the same flavor characteristics: hint of cinnamon, not too sweet. I did have my first can of Diet Coke with Lime this weekend. It's much better than the previously released Diet Coke with Lemon which tasted like a byproduct of Joy Dishwashing Liquid.

February 12, 2004

own a chunk of Mac history

Virginia Tech's supercomputer built out of Apple G5 systems is being dismantled to be replaced with Apple Xserve rackmount systems. If you head over to MacMall, you can purchase one of the 1100 dual G5 computers used in the system for the "low, low" price of $2799. A steal compared to the $2999 list price (heh.)

*No Modem* Although you do get a gig of RAM in it.


This is a lot of fun to read...

pepsi hunt 2004 - part 2.01, becoming aunt/uncle, and dinner theater

Alas, and alack. My bonus Diet Pepsi has done me wrong. I am now 1 for 4 in the great itunes hunt. Oh well. Since I need to take up some space on this post, I'll fill you in on the rest of our lives. We're still anticipating uncle and aunt-dom. Lydia has taken up smocking as a hobby and is voraciously trying to come up with ideas for our new niece. She's also planning a baby shower in Texas with Mom and Allison near the end of March. Suffice it to say, Lydia is not having to find lots of things to do in her "spare time."

I'm all wrapped up in our church's dinner theater preparations. It has become my task to take the scores that the musical company rents to us and transform them into something playable by a bass, drums, piano and two keyboards... that as much as possible, retains the flavor of the Broadway musical. This year was fairly easy... building on past years experience, and based on the fact that the "conductor's score" is really a reduction of almost every part playing. There are about three times the number of notes that are actually humanly playable, it's just a matter of deciding which of us three humans plays which note! Mom and Dad are flying in on their flight privileges to see the Saturday show on the 21st. It should be fun!

February 11, 2004

pepsi hunt 2004, part 2 - the marketing is correct!

Since I spend my days creating marketing programs, you'd think that I'd be immune to marketing, wouldn't you? Evidently, that's not the case. I actually took a detour today, just so I could procure another potentially iTunes-laden Pepsi bottlecap. (a.k.a. the "iCap.") This is very bizarre behavior for me because
  1. I don't normally drink Pepsi
  2. I don't own an iPod, and
  3. I happen to have a ready supply of carbonated beverages.
Exacerbating the issue today was that I was craving something salty, but not deadly (get thee behind me, oh Guacamole Doritos!!) so at the end of my quick excursion to procure two three-way light bulbs (after the demise of one when I entered my office today) I whipped in to my trusty Exxon Tigermarket. Lo and behold, they're running a special... any two 20 oz. drinks for $2. That's an entire eighteen cents off the regular price! Of course, I had to take advantage of the deal, and grabbed two yellow-topped Diet Pepsis and a small bag of Baked Doritos, not as good for me as the "WOW" ones, but better than the Guac-assault.

So, as I slurp on this 8.3% discounted Diet Pepsi, I am proud to report that I am a statistic, and have officially won with only one out of three yellow bottle caps. However, the other bottle is safely stocked away in my office fridge, ready to be opened (possibly tomorrow?) and drive me deep into the oblivion of "below average" results, or soaring to the fifty percent mark. Stay tuned!

February 8, 2004

how I did it

Responding to the comment below... the top of the bottle is just the neck of the bottle stretched and repeated to look as close to a real bottle top as possible. Then I copied and pasted the yellow ring from the original graphic... that does two things: one, it lends some realism (the ring actually stays when you open a bottle) and two, it makes your eye accept the not-so-good rendition of a bottleneck by breaking it up a bit. I searched for a real image of an empty Pepsi bottle, but alas, that's not the kind of thing most people post onine. (surprise, surprise!)

Apologies in advance if you want to post a comment to our blog... it doesn't seem to be working for me today.

February 6, 2004

the great Pepsi hunt of 2004

By now, you probably know that Apple and Pepsi are giving away 100 million iTunes downloads. However, Giles was quick to point out that the yellow-capped Pepsi bottles seem to be few and far between. I wonder how long it takes 300 million Pepsi bottles to infiltrate the market?

The only place that I have seen the contest bottles are at convenience stores. And, interestingly enough, only on Diet Pepsis... not regular Pepsis, caffeine-free Pepsis, Sierra Mists, or any other allegedly eligible Pepsi product. A quick trip to Harris Teeter this morning produced zero contest Pepsis, but did end up producing two six-packs of Diet Caffeine-Free Cokes. (Hey... they were buy one, get one free! How can you pass that up!?!) The yellow contest-caps are only available on two liter bottles and 20 oz. bottles. No cans, no half-liters. At the grocery store, all of the plastic-bottled six-packs that you can purchase from Coke and Pepsi are half-liters. I don't know if that's a regional thing, if it's just our bottler, or if it's part of a vast, Mac-wing conspiracy that prevents you from purchasing the iTunes contest caps in multi-packs. It stands to reason that Pepsi would only want to give away downloads on high-margin, single purchase items.

I did locate a yellow-capped one on the way back to the office and yes, I have won my first free iTunes download. That makes me one for two (and explains the graphic attached to this post,) having purchased a yellow-capped Diet Pepsi a day or two after the Super Bowl. I wonder how long before batches of these winning caps turn up on ebay. At fifty cents a cap, you could make quite a little cash rebate on your caps... if you drink a ton of Pepsi.