The Ex-Box

When my original 1st-Gen Xbox 360 finally (after six years of faithful service, which is apparently a lot more than many of you got) succumbed to the RRoD, I went ahead and spent the dough for an arcade version (el cheapo) new slimline Xbox.  They promised that the overheating problem was solved (auto shut-down?  Really?  That’s your solution?) and since I had the Kinect and all the games the kids enjoy that got me through the cabin-fever-inducing Northern Indiana Winters, I really had no choice.  The unit was much quieter than the old, bulkier first-gen system and had dedicated Kinect plug-ins, etc.  It was like all my problems had disappeared forever in the glossy, black monolith of joy that sat beneath my television.

And then: tragedy.  I think, but cannot know for sure, that maybe we had a power surge during one of the many hard storms we got here in Ft. Wayne this last month.  The first thing I noticed was wrong was the internal flash memory was gone. Wiped.  Then the dang thing wouldn’t power on.  It made the trademark “ding” sound when I tried to start it manually.  But that was all the old gal had in her.  Luckily, I was under warranty.  I submitted my repair order online, printed out the prepaid shipping label, and sent the sucker off.  “Now we wait,” I told the kids.  The Xbox repair and service page estimated no more than fifteen total days turnaround.  The confirmation email from Xbox was dated April 4th.  Time was on my side, and I figured I’d be streaming Netflix and battling my way down Damavand Peak in no time.

I have rarely been so wrong.  So horribly, naively wrong.

I filed my repair order on the Xbox service website on April 4th.  Got a confirmation email and I was told that it should take no more than 15 days for complete turnaround.   No, really.  that’s what they said.  And, surprise!  My Xbox is scheduled to be delivered today. Today.  April 25th.  Okay, so…a little longer than promised.  Fine.  Like, four more days.  The problem is that I seriously doubt I’d be getting the damned thing at all if I hadn’t been pro-active.  The rest of this story is gonna play out sort of like “Memento.”  We’re going backwards to put the pieces together.  For example, here’s part of an online chat I had with Xbox support this past Monday…

You are now chatting with ‘Karen’.
Turner: Hello, human!
Karen: Thank you for contacting Xbox Customer Support. My name is Karen. Please give me a moment to review your concern. How are you doing today?
Karen: Hi there!Turner!
Turner: Splendid, except for being concerned for my poor Xbox out there in the world all alone…
Karen: Sorry to hear that, Turner. But let me just check what happened to your console.
Turner: My repair order number was/is as follows:
Turner: 1*******0
Karen: Okay. Let me just check this tracking number.
Turner: My FedEx tracking number (provided by you guys) is 0*************6
Karen: Okay. Thank you for that information, Turner.
Karen: I am going to check the tracking number. Thank you.
Karen: I’ve already checked the tracking number, Turner. It says here, it can’t be found.
Turner: I know. That’s why I’m asking you guys what’s up.
Turner: Was my unit shipped back to me or not?
Turner: And if not, why?
Karen: Hold on, let me just verify again.
Karen: Give me a few minutes, Turner. I am still checking here.
Karen: Thanks.
Turner: Mmmmkay.
Karen: Thank you.
Karen: Thank you for your patience, Turner.
Turner: Mmm-hmm!
Karen: I truly admire your patience and cooperation with this.
Karen: We received your console last April 17. You will received your console after 7 days.
Karen: So you can chat us back again tomorrow, Turner.
Karen: Just disregard the tracking number of Fedex, since it was already received by our service center.

Hey, great!  So…wait, what?  April 17th?  It took thirteen days to get from Ft. Wayne, Indiana to Lubbock, Texas?  Shit, I could’ve WALKED it there!  “There’s been a mistake,” I say to myself.  “I just chatted with ‘Vern’ form Xbox support on the 16th.  The day before ‘Karen’ showed my Xbox arriving.”  I mentioned this to ‘Karen.’

Karen: According to our system, it was received on April 17 only.
Turner: I have a transcript of a chat with a Microsoft rep dated April 16th
Karen: Yes. You will received your console tomorrow, Turner.

HUZZAH!!  I WILL RECEIVED MY CONSOLE TOMORROW!!  Which would’ve been the 21st!  Tuesday!  Obviously, ‘Karen’ must’ve misspoken.  Not the 21st.  The 24th is what she meant to say.  Forget ‘Memento.’  Let’s go deeper, ‘Inception’ style.  Let’s take a look at some of my chat with ‘Vern’ the week before…

Vern: I was looking at the repair status here and it’s still saying it’s still on transit to our repair center, however it was shipped from you since April 5, it’s already the 17th.
Vern: I was checking further with the documentation so it really took me a while.
Turner: Yeah, I wondered if someone just didn’t scan it in.
Turner: Thesite said average repair time was up to, what? Fifteen days turnaround?
Turner: My only concern is making sure you guys DO in fact, HAVE it.
Vern: Yes, Turner.
Vern: The maximum days would be around 15 but as early as today it should have arrived.
Vern: We still have 3 days though from the shipping date.
Vern: It maybe that the system here has not yet updated the information.
Vern: But rest assured Turner, you’ll receive an e-mail once the device is received.
Turner: You mean “officially” received as the FedEx invoice marks it as delivered on April 11th, correct?
Vern: Yes, Turner.

Ah-HA!!  ‘Vern’ knew what was up.  But ‘Karen’ had other information…

Karen: You will received the console anytime on April 24.
Karen: I am not showing April 11 on my system, Turner.
Turner: Shall I send you the entire transcript? From my April 16th chat?
Karen: The only date that I have here is April 17, that was the day that we received the console.
Turner: Was he lying to me, then?

WAS HE?!?!  Had ‘Vern’ been playing me from the BEGINNING?!  I had TRUSTED HIM!!  And THIS betrayal is how he repaid that trust?  Ooooo, ‘Vern!’  I dislike this strongly!  But ‘Karen’ knew exactly how I felt.

Karen: I am so sorry about this Turner.
Turner: I have been telling my kids that the xbox would be here “any day now”
Karen: I really do understand your situation right now.
Turner: Now I guess I’ll tell them that we are buying a PS3
Karen: And if I were you, I would feel the same way too.
Karen: So sorry for what happened, Turner.
Turner: That’s it? No other answers? Like, why you told me the Xbox was being shipped back to me and even gave me a FedEx tracking number?
Turner: Nothing?
Turner: Okay.
Turner: I guess you’re done now.
Turner: I’ll be sending myself a transcript of this useless chat and sharing it.
Karen: I really do understand you, Turner.
Karen: If you want to, you can check the status of the repair on this website.
Karen: click here
Turner: Oh, I have. It told me the xbox was being shipped out.
Turner: Looking at it right now. “REpair complete”
Karen: Since, it was April 22, you will receive the console on April 24 Turner.
Karen: Yes, it was completed. And it still needs to be shipped, Turner.
Karen: That’s why you will receive it on April 24.

Then, I hate to admit, I sort of…lost it.

Turner: NO! April 17th, I received an email saying the console had shipped. I don’t know who screwed up, but they should be held accountable.
Turner: Why would I get the email and then still not have it shipped until the 22nd?
Turner: Okay, you know what? Whatever.
Turner: I know what happened. You guys got it on the 4th but somebody forgot to scan it in or something
Turner: Then, when I complained on the 16th, repairs were begun
Turner: They told me it was being shipped on the 17th and sent me the tracking number
Turner: But again, someone screwed the pooch.
Turner: I guess it’s just tough luck
Turner: Seeya around, ‘Karen.’ If you see ‘Vern’ do something horrible in his coffee mug.
Karen: I really do apologize for the delay, Turner.
Turner: Oh, hey. Thanks.
Karen: Sorry again Turner.
Karen: We are really upset right now that this incident happened to you.
Turner: Is there anyone else I can complain to? I know you’re just trying to put out fires.
Turner: But like a supervisor or quality control person or Vern? Whoever Vern’s boss is, boy…
Turner: That guy. THAT guy should get an earful
Karen: I really do understand that Turner.
Turner: So, no?
Turner: What about…and I’m just spitballin’ here…like, do you know where Vern lives?
Karen: Yes. You can file a complaint, hold on let me just give you the steps.
Turner: Thanks.
Turner: But, yeah…friggin Vern.
Turner: And Vern’s boss.
Turner: Betcha he’s your boss too, huh?
Turner: Probably a douche, amirite?
Turner: Sexist of me to assume your boss is a “he” though.

Not very professional of me, but damn it, I was just DONE with this whole thing.  But then the plot thickened once again.  It turns out someone had other ideas…

Karen: Oh sorry for that Turner, I will inform my boss about the complaint rather.
Turner: Okay. So, not me. You. You’ll fill a complaint on my behalf.
Karen: Yes, Turner.
Karen: Again, I am so sorry for the inconvenience, Turner.
Turner: So you’ll just be like “oh, hey…some guy is upset that we lied to him and blah-blah-blah his kids are crying and at least some of the blame falls on Vern, cause SCREW THAT GUY.”
Turner: I imagine your office is a lot like the place where Archer works.
Turner: What fun you must have!
Turner: Okay. I really gotta go now.
Karen: I will inform my boss, that the previous representative that you’ve talked to didn’t provide you the right information, Turner.
Karen: I really do apologize for what happened.
Turner: But you sure did, didn’t ya? You betcha.
Karen: But thanks anyways for bringing this information to us.
Turner: You hooked me right up.
Turner: Yeah, seeya. And tell Vern to look over his shoulder.
Karen: Yes. Thank you for understanding.
Karen: You take care and have a great day ahead, Turner.
Turner: I don’t. But I’m sorta screwed either way, so yeah.
Turner: Bye.

Epilogue:  The FedEx tracking site says that the package was delivered today at 10:07 am.  So, there it sits.  Finally.  The invoice says that it was shipped from ZAPOPAN, JA  MX on Monday.  The day I spoke with ‘Karen,’ meaning that it was there, ready, during our chat.  Patiently waiting in a repair facility in Mexico, apparently.  I’m willing to bet that as SOON as our chat concluded, ‘GLADoS’ (excuse me, ‘Karen’) called someone up and the thing got put on a truck to Laredo, Texas then eventually to Ft. Wayne.  From Mexico to my front door in three business days (it was almost closing time when I had my chat with ‘Karen.’)  Three.  That, to me, is the saddest part.  Say it left my house on the 5th.  It’s in Microsoft’s hands by the 8th.  Let’s say three days to do the repair. Then three days to get back home.  That puts it in my hands again on the 14th.  Imagine how many more headshots I’d have gotten on Kharg Island I’d have had.  Man…if only. If only.


Holy crap…it’s almost been an entire month since my last post, and that one was a throw-away quickie.  Been busy, folks.  My radio station has been slowly transitioning to a new location, kids are busy, I’ve had shows like Best Ink Season Two to watch (TEAM TERESA!!!!) and Far Cry 3 to complete (with the GOOD ending, thank you.)  So I figured I’d jump back in with another Hollywood Nooz style entry.  If these things keep doing well, I’m going to have to create an entirely new blog for this stuff.  That way NOTHING will get updated.

Without further ado…


Powder blue is the new tangerine!

Powder blue is the new tangerine!

Buoyed by his recent critically acclaimed turn in the big-screen adaptation of Les Miz, gruff-but-loveable Kiwi Russell Crowe has stunned the music world by agreeing to appear as part of this summer’s hottest ticket:  the eagerly-awaited tour of pop diva Britney Spears.  Brit decided to forgo any more reality-TV judging gigs in order to wow live audiences with mediocre lip-synching, and decided to bring out the big guns!  “I always loved Russell as ‘Wolverine’ but had no idea he could sing!”  As for what drew the burly, bearded, boy-band wannabee to the tour, Russell admitted that he initially “thought ‘Les Miz’ was just a flick about French lesbians and professional wrestlers.  Imagine my shock when it turned out to be this gay Occupy movie!  Loved it. And the outfits?  FABULOUS.”


Modern-day D'Artagnan Kiedis answers questions at the "N4pole0n" press conference

Modern-day D’Artagnan Kiedis answers questions at the “N4pole0n” press conference

Staying in the world of music, we were excited to hear the bombshell that Miramax dropped last week when they announced another gritty reboot, this time of fan-fave cult film ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ slated to begin pre-production in the next few weeks.  The newly re-branded ‘N4pole0n’ already boasts Jon Hamm and Jennifer Lawrence as part of the cast, and at the press meet-up it was announced that the coveted role of Kip Dynamite would be going to none other than Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis! “I’ve acted before, so it’s not like I’m completely out-of-sorts” said the star of Point Break and that one Charlie Sheen film.  “Plus, with my history of drug addiction, I feel like I can convey the proper gravitas and self-torture that the role of Kip demands.  I’m, like, totally stoked, dude.”  The Jim Jarmusch-helmed drama should hit theaters in time for the Holiday 2014 season.


We may finally have an explanation for what’s taking author George R. R. Martin so long to finish his sword-and-sorcery epic ‘A Song of Ice and Fire!’  It may have very little to do with the ongoing HBO adaptation; even as the smash-hit ‘Game of Thrones’ sails into its third season, another GRRM project seems to be taking up most of the author’s time.

Perhaps now it'll be 'Between Two Dramatic Turns!'

Perhaps now it’ll be ‘Between Two Dramatic Turns!’

It seems that over the last dozen years or so, Martin has kept an intricate journal of his life.  Now Paramount is keen to reap some of that ‘GoT’ cash, and has optioned the diary for a big-screen biopic starring Hollywood funnyman Zach Galifianakis as a young George R.R. Martin.  Pre-production is already underway, with Galifianakis doing location shoots in Harlem and San Salvador.  The ‘Hangover’ star told us about what drew him to the project: “Well, George is a shabbily-dressed fat guy.  And since John Goodman is way too old, that pretty much leaves me.  Now, please…just leave me alone.”