abject failure

...now browsing by category


The Perils of Car-Based Advertising

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

It’s not unusual to almost get run off the road while driving in San Francisco. What is unusual is to almost get run off the road by a car with an advertising wrap on it. Even more unusual was what I spotted on the side of the heavily-tinted car, its driver clearly yelling at me to get out of his way: A vehicle wrap for babysitting service urbansitter.

Now that’s a little interesting. I’m sure no one from urbansitter was behind the wheel, nor was the driver likely one of the service’s babysitters… and yet, I’m still a little put off. Would I trust my children to a company that employs reckless drivers to carry its advertising message? As a parent of two, I’m suddenly not sure how I feel about the company’s brand based on this one, isolated incident.

Just a cautionary tale should your business find itself considering vehicle wraps to carry its marketing message. In the case of urbansitter, which has to get across how extremely safe its service is, maybe it’s better to stick with promotional pencils.

Then again… I definitely saw your ad!

Update 6/4/2013 – Urbansitter and the company that provides its car ad services, AdverCar, have both followed up with me and taken great pains to address this situation. I’m really impressed by their response.

This Is The Worst Press Release I Have Ever Received

Friday, April 5th, 2013


Monday night’s Dancing With The Stars episode will feature Pickler and dance partner, Derek Hough, performing to a very special song

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 5, 2013)- Country music’s Kellie Pickler announced today on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she and her dance partner, Derek Hough, will dance to a very special song on Monday night’s Dancing With The Stars. In honor of the show’s theme of the week, “Most Memorable Year,” Pickler chose to dance to one from 2011— the year she married her husband, Nashville songwriter, Kyle Jacobs.

Pickler and Hough will dance the rumba to “Say I Do,” a romantic ballad written by Jacobs for Pickler shortly before their wedding day – and to top it off, Jacobs will perform the song in person on the show Monday night with the help of the Dancing With The Stars house band.

“It’s going to be an 100 percent emotional moment, and I’m just hoping I can keep it together,” Jacobs says. “Kellie’s doing so well on the show, and she’s having so much fun. The fact that she’s dancing to this song, our song, means so very much to both of us… it honors the love that we have so much.”

When asked how Jacobs feels about his wife dancing with Hough each week, Pickler sweetly told Ellen, “My husband knows he’s always going to get the last dance.”

Tune in to Dancing With The Stars on ABC on Monday at 8 p.m. EDT / 7 CDT to watch.

Stay tuned to kelliepickler.com for updates on tour dates and new music, and follow her on Twitter @kelliepickler.

The New Math

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

According to a letter from a KitchenAid warranty provider, this company suggests I pay $517 for a 5-year warranty on a 10-year-old mixer that now costs $340 new.

Who’s with me?

Fixing an Unreadable Smart Card?

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Anyone have any tips on fixing unreadable smart cards with chips like those seen below? I’ve got $45 stuck on this parking card and nowhere to go with it because it gives a “card error” message every time I try to use it…

smart card

Lance Armstrong + Oprah: Here’s How It’ll Go Down

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Here’s a digest so you don’t actually have to watch the Lance Armstrong shame-fest.

Gosh Oprah, it feels so good to finally admit to the doping. Living with this shame for years has really been impossible. I’ve let my fans down. I’ve let America down. But mostly I’ve let myself down. I take responsibility, but you have to understand the pressure they put on you in professional sports to do this. I never had a choice.

I want to put all that behind me now, though, and I would love to find a way to educate people so no one else has to go through what I did. I want to do this for the children of America. So I’m announcing today that I’m going to start a new foundation dedicated to educating kids about doping. I want to make sure this never happens again! (applause sign)

What’s next for you, Lance?

I’m going to write a book and tell all the details. Maybe a talk show, we’ll see how that goes. I’m really excited about the future. Don’t do drugs, kids.

Gosh Lance, this is all so honest and brave of you. You’re welcome back into society. Now take a seat next to Hugh Grant!

Best Spammer “Name” Ever

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

“Lazarus Nielsen”

Now That’s an Error Message!

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

badass error

Stuff People Give Out at Food Drives

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Spent several hours going door to door with my son’s Cub Scout pack this morning collecting canned goods for the San Francisco Food Bank. Among the items received for donation:

  • A jar of “Goober Grape” PB&J combo
  • A bottle of Trader Joe’s Thai curry sauce
  • Multiple 12-packs of Coca-Cola
  • Bag of dried lentils from a bulk bin
  • Jelly (expired)
  • A frozen “Claim Jumper” apple pie
  • Individual snack packets of Annie’s organic Bunny Grahams
  • Boxes of frozen stuffing (thawed, rank, very expired)
  • A canned ham (these still exist!)

Why “New York Times Bestseller” Means Nothing

Monday, November 5th, 2012

What does it take to get on the New York Times Best Seller list? A lot of money, that’s all. Here’s how publishers looking to cash in on those golden words do it. The secret: “bulk sales” — where a few bookstores receive massive orders driven by a small number of buyers. The NYT now reveals the reporting of bulk orders in the footnotes of its listings.

In related news, it’s true: Nothing is sacred.

Columbine at 13

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Everything you remember about Columbine is wrong. A new book out reminds of what really went down. One interesting tidbit from this page:

Myth #5. There were no warning signs that could have prevented the Columbine massacre.

Truth: Other parents had complained about Eric Harris, multiple times. Both Eric and Dylan had been arrested before. Thirteen months before the shooting, investigators discovered evidence that Eric was building pipe bombs. Dozens of pages of obscene threats on the internet were also documented. The sheriff’s department covered up the initial evidence that signaled the threat.

The Shoulders of Giants

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

The worst thing is thinking of an idea for an awesome blog post during the night, then forgetting it completely by the time you wake up.


Thursday, July 19th, 2012

In the history of air travel, has a flight ever become undelayed? I think not.

These Kids Today

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Amazed to see the army kids headed into middle school this morning… about half with a Starbucks cup in hand.

One Two Three Four

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

This is what I’m reminded of when all the students doing jumping jacks at my kids’ karate class.

iy9Etpp5tpyB0.gif (GIF Image, 466 × 331 pixels).

I Really Do Understand

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

It can be hard to remember everyone’s email address, but can you at least remember your own email address when you fill out a form or even email something to yourself? Is it that hard?

You Can Only Blame Yourself

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

For the second time in a year, a motorist has been ticketed in South Carolina for displaying a replica of testicles on a vehicle.

Another testicle ticket written in South Carolina  – Weird News – The Charleston Gazette

Baa Ram Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

29 pigs is one too many.

Judge: Florence Gruber must offload pigs from Paulsboro home | NJ.com.

Debt Collectors Reach New Lows

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

There is no occupation I dislike more than the debt collector. Here’s another reason to hate them.

Hospital patients waiting in an emergency room or convalescing after surgery are being confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside.

This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed on Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country.

The tactics, like embedding debt collectors as employees in emergency rooms and demanding that patients pay before receiving treatment, were outlined in hundreds of company documents released by the attorney general. And they cast a spotlight on the increasingly desperate strategies among hospitals to recoup payments as their unpaid debts mount.

Anger Management

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Just off the phone with a debt collector for Providian who literally screamed at me: “Why don’t you pay your debts!?”

Only problem: I’ve never had an account with Providian. Wrong Chris Null.

Say What?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

My collected works can be bought for $41, it seems.

(Please do not buy this.)