Tag Archive: writing


The Power of the Consumer.

I know that this post comes late, but hopefully you won’t call and complain. That last sentence will make sense in a moment.

This post is about what power we, the consumer have. In this economic time, most are willing to do whatever they can do to keep their customers. For example, the average person spends $350,000.00 at Wal-Mart in their life. If Wal Mart makes you angry and turns you away, then they arent losing a small transaction, they are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars! We forget that we hold hundreds of thousands over the manager’s heads and too often let poor service pass along.

Without giving too much information, I just want to say that Joanna and I were treated very poorly (on several accounts) by Verizon, our cell phone provider. So when my (already defective) phone quit working a few weeks ago, I decided to bring it in. I was told that I had no options, and that the defective phone I was sold was as good as trash. No repair, no replacement phone, no ‘Im sorry’, just another rude person who couldn’t care less.

I now had to decide between shelling out hundreds for an ok new phone that might be just as awful as my last, or buying a cheap refurbished one that was made ten years ago. Now I love taking .5 megapixel pictures, but I am cheap, and I feel that I already pay too much for a phone that has barely worked. This was the last straw, and my stingy side took over.

So I set out to write some emails. Through some extensive investigation, I found the emails for Verizon’s CEO, President, Head of Customer Service, and the Mid TN Distrit Manager. I sent them essentially the same email explaining my past experiences, and telling them that I was considering terminating my contract. I did my best to be professional, but at the same time explain how and why I was so upset. I sent the email

Then, last week I got a phone call from a very nice woman that had received my email. She apologized for my experiences, overnighted me a new phone for free, and gave us a discount on out next phone bill. She was understanding and apologetic, promised to call the store I went to, and made sure that I was a satisfied customer before she let me off the phone. I honestly felt that I could have demanded free service for life and she would have made it happen.

Now you might be asking me how do the same thing. My first piece of advice is not to go out looking for something free. I never at any point thought that I should try and work this company over for some free stuff. I was treated poorly, and simply wanted to exercise my power as the consumer. If all I got was an apology, a promise to follow up with the staff, and a free repair on my dumb phone, then I would have been happy. If you have been treated poorly, then here are some tips for you:

1 Remember names and times. Even if I’m calling Comcast to ask about a $2.00 charge on my bill, I always take note of the date and time. This helps add validity. Think about it; “Tammy cussed at me and threw a pair of shoes at me last night at 9:00” means that they can verify that Tammy was working last night, and that she was in the shoe dept.

2 Dont yell. Whether you are making a phone call, or you are writing an email, stay calm. Be sure to convey that you are upset, but if you start yelling, or writing swear words, then you are only making yourself look unprofessional. Not to mention, its just tacky.

3 Use the internet. I’m serious, check out their website, read news articles on customer service and stock, and google ‘how to complain about my netflix picture quality’. You never know what you will find.

4 Use Social Media. I tweeted about waiting for a Fedex package, and an actual Fedex representative tweeted at me in minutes! My sister told me about an old woman that made a youtube video talking about Sears’ awful warranty repair guys, and Sears sent the guys to give her a new washer! These companies hire people to watch what people are saying about them on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Myspace (ok, no probably not Myspace). I wouldn’t doubt it that someone from Verizon, Fedex, Wal-Mart, or Comcast will probably stumble onto this post without me ever knowing it.

What not to do: don’t try to rip them off. If you just don’t like your phone, and want a free iPhone, or feel angry that they wouldn’t replace the phone you dropped in the lake, don’t make up some story for free stuff. Just be professional, and let them know that they will lose your patronage if they don’t right what was wronged.

So hey, remember that this is your money, and you decide where and how to spend it.

So this is a blog on writing for all of those who write or desire to. I’ve been working on a novel for a while now, and I’m also working on this blog as well. I know I’ve had some gross inconsistencies, but this is for the most part past mistakes I’ve learned from.

Some people are born with an inate sense of organization. Life is orderly, and things seem to naturally organize themselves with little or no effort. Then there are those of you who are like me; organization is a funny word you say over and over as you miss the hamper with your socks. Things get cleaned and structured- occasionally, and the rare cleaning out your pants is a payday all in and of it’s self.

But organized writing is vital. It can make or break you when what you’ve written is a random mess of thought. What I recommend is that you treat your book, blog, or whatever like a research paper. Write out an outline, and fill in the points as you go.

On the topic of research papers, try to think of a thesis statement for your posts; or at least have some semblance of a lesson to to teach your readers. Remember; you will have plenty of time to ramble on incoherently in your old age, so make sense while you still can.

Stephen King put in the opening of his book on writing “To write is human, but to edit is divine”. Edit your work, cause no one gets it perfect the first time. Do your best to remain objective and eliminate that extra bit of fluff that may (and probably will) be there.

Then, there is a pivotal paradigm to hold if you want anyone else to see your writing; you have to be thick skinned. I’m not talking about constructive criticism from a peer, I’m talking about haters showing up out of nowhere, saying awful stuff about you, your writing, your Grandma, and the stuffed tiger you loved growing up. Just remember this; haters are gonna hate. No matter what you do, someone is going to dislike you for no good reason just because you put your thoughts to paper.

So start writing. I mean it, we all have something to say, so say it, and see what kind of reaction you will get.

I get the news I need

I think of the Simon and Garfunkel song that says “I get all the news I need from the weather report” , and think about how that used to be my old philosophy. When I was a poor, deprived child who had no cable TV (this may lead you to ask yourself “did he even had running water?” Yes, as long as I showered before my sisters.) There wasn’t much of a difference to news stations. There were Channel 5, 8, or 10 news, and they all covered most of the important things by themselves.

When I was in Media Writing, we were told that journalists’ mission was to report the news in an unbiased way. The writer or reporter  was to take their personal sentiments out of the story, give the facts, and give two different views on the story.

We were shown Walter Cronkite reporting Kennedy’s assassination. This was a huge shock, because no one was to show emotion on the television. My teacher told us that people always speculated about his personal ideology, but it was after his retirement that he showed that he had political views that were much more liberal than what most speculated.

What I missed from all of this was why this quality was so necessary. I mean, is it truly possible to be completely unbiased? Would you rather listen to someone who is honest with their views, but still entertains the opposite view? Or is it better that someone places subtle, not always conscious nudges around their “unbiased” reporting?

Even the most brutal murderers were supposed to be showed that they had a rough childhood, and reasons as to why they became they way they were, all with an emotionless face. We all were required to read Grendel, and understand that sometimes society and events can take a place in shaping monsters. I think that its fine to show this side, but to call Charles Manson a sociopath and a murderer does not need any more explanation than to call Snoopy a lazy, daydreaming dog.

We are slowly moving away from Cronkite-types, and are moving towards commentators. We as a people in general are becoming more educated, and looking for people to help us reinforce our point. We, as Americans, should keep ourselves educated, and come up with our own ideals. I’m not trying to call all journalists manipulators, I’m just simply trying to state that no one can truly be a dispassionate observer. I think that as long as the facts are clearly separated from opinion, we should be able to decide our own thoughts from whoever we get our news source.

What we really need is a news station that is honest with its self. Fair and balanced is necessary to give two sides to the argument, but to think that any news source is really unbiased is as absurd as thinking your grandmas cookies are fat-free. People need to quit concerning themselves with all of the other news sources, and look at whether or not the facts are given, and if there is a reasonable conclusion to take with them.

Some Epic Songs

So now its time to get back to music. I love music so much it hurts, and I just may go on about it till you hurt too.

I don’t know what brought this on, bit I wanted to tell you about some of the most epic songs in my life. I love all kinds of music, maybe even polka. Maybe. Anyways, I just wanted to hopefully inspire you the ways these songs have inspired me.

There are just some songs out there that do so much more than make you sing ” ga ga ooh la la”. They can take your own feelings and emote them in a way that you never could, or maybe it’s so strong that you feel like they stole it from you.

Anyways, heres my list, it’s here to get that Lady Ga Ga song out of your head, ready or not.

Athlete, Tourist. One of my favorite songs all time, just a great song by one of my favorite bands ever.

Barcelona, Its about time. This is a band that I am addicted to. I hit play and cant turn anything else on for weeks.

Kings of Convienience, Homesick. Like a modern Simon and Garfunkel, I just love to sit back and enjoy them.

Mutemath Noticed. So good! I saw them live a while ago, and they put on the best performance I have ever seen, even better than DC Talk. They are a great band with very moving lyrics.

David Crowder Beautiful Collision. I love this song, and especially this version. If you want to know how I feel, check out my blog on my most influential albums.

TLC Dont Go Chasing Waterfalls. Such a great song from the 90s. I love the message in this song, its like its speaking right to me. I used to chase “waterfalls” all the time, and now that I’m sticking to my rivers and lakes, I feel so much more balanced and happy.

Death Cab for Cutie Transatlanticism. What moving lyrics. I mean how many 7 to 8 minute songs can you listen to without changing the song? It just builds and builds with so much passion and emotion

Regina Spektor Samson. Regina seems to be the child of Elton John and Salvatore Dali. She is so proficient in piano playing, and writes very moving lyrics, yet there is a certain feel of lucid dreaming in her lyrics. Even though her words dont really make sense all of the time, you still get the feel of what she is trying to convey.

South Loosen Your Hold. This is a band that I used to keep secret, cause I wanted to be the only one who knew about them (how uncharacteristically hipster of me), but I hope you enjoy them.

Decemberists Engine Driver. These guys have been transported from the 1800s, brought here to write their era’s music through a modern means. I’m not being metaphorical, I honestly think that they have to be over a hundred years old, and you can’t tell me any different.

Joe Purdy, Wash Away. Listen to this song and try to feel sad. Just try it. You can’t, can you? Well thats cause Joe Purdy Rocks. I first heard him on Lost season 1, but it took me forEVER to find out who he is.

http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/user/thisisdanjones/5429752/playlists  I tacked a few others on here for your enjoyment, I hope you like them!

Also, note that TLC is not on the playlist. Thats cause I was joking.

Pet Peeves Part 3!

Alright, I know that I get controversial from time to time. I mean that bubblegum article get me a few threats, but alas, I move on to another set of pet peeves.

So for anyone that has read more than Dr. Suess and Wayside School, its quite obvious that writers from the United Kingdom write and pronounce some words differently than we do here in the States i.e. colour, grey, drive through, etc. Well when America was still a colony, we actually purposefully changed a lot of these words to (as best I can understand it) make them more efficient.

With that little tidbit in your brain, you should know to avoid extremes of any kind. Even too much water can kill you, you know? That being said, speaking in an abbreviated fashion like you are in middle school talking on AIM is such an extreme that may just get you killed (ok, maybe I’m being extreme with that statement).

Acceptable Abbreviations:

POW (Prisoner of War)

AOL (America Online)

Abbreviating cuss words

BP (British Petrol)

MIA (Missing in Action)

BBQ (Barbecue)

IHOP (International House of Pancakes)

Unacceptable Abbreviations:

OMG,

LOL,

LMAO,

BAMF,

ROFL,

BRB,

STFU,

BBQ,

PDQ, and so many more!

I’m not including their meanings, because they don’t matter. That, and some of them were quite vulgar.

Just realize that the common people who talk like this are pre pubescent kids who still spend their Saturday mornings watching cartoons. Even if you were one of those kids once upon a time, you need to grow out of it like the other things you did; your mom is so fat jokes, your Power Ranger dolls, and telling dirty jokes you don’t get yet.

Its not political part 2

So Remember how last post I wrote that Glenn Beck and the 8/28 rally inspired my post, and then I didn’t mention it again? Well now I’m here to wrap it up for you in a little bow.

So on his show, Glenn repeated plenty of times that this rally wasn’t about politics or parties. I figured that he meant he didn’t want it to be a protest, but a celebration of history, followed by his advice on where to lead the country. He would talk about politicians that held similar beliefs, and he would talk about how he wanted to refound our country on its old principles.

Well, I was pretty wrong.

I really wish that Joanna and I could have gone to the rally, but we had to accept that we couldn’t make it happen. Thanks to DVR we were still able to watch it in our house that Saturday evening.

It was amazing to see who all he had speak and pray at this rally. There were Native American Chiefs, Rabbis, Imams, Priests, and Pastors all present to support Glenn and his message.

His message was simply this; solidarity. The whole rally was centered on uniting all Americans regardless of where they were born, how they look, who they worshiped, or what their political ideals were, and to honor our troops that give their lives every day.

The troops were certainly honored as the heroes they were. They honored the men who died, and others who gave their chance at a normal life. There were men there who were proud even though they were missing parts of their bodies. It was amazing to see so much money donated to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

It really gave me a new perspective. This whole time I have seen my ideals as what divides me from others, but this showed how we can still be a united country. I mean just because some people are against healthcare, others want to solve the national debt, doesn’t mean that we cant still unite under what we agree upon.

I honestly think that the path we were headed down was more than just two parties standing on different sides of a fence. We were becoming a divided country. Maybe it wasn’t north and south, but there was a divide that was growing that may have eventually torn our country apart. Our mindsets were on how we disagree, and we avoided those who disagreed with us.

I think that after this rally we can really look forward to uniting our country, having civil debates on our disagreements, and finding that which we can hold up to unite us.

http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/15295.html is a great article about the true message of this rally.

I think that Dr. King was honored by this, even though it was not purposefully placed to land on the day of his “I have a dream” speech. Some might say that I have no place in making that statement, since I am not black, but could not disagree more. His speech is a part of my history as well. Dr. King’s speech was just as much for the white as the black, and I am someone who surrounds himself with people of character, not of any specific color.

All this put out in the internet, I want everyone out there to try and stop patronizing those who don’t agree with you. We overreact and name call because we feel so passionate about our views, but we have to step back and decide why we disagree. Here are some facts that I think we can all agree on;

-The world is getting warmer, and this is alarming.

-There is a large number of people who have to work so much harder to get out of poverty because of their living situation

-Our healthcare system is so expensive and insurance is hard to find if it is not offered by your work.

-One day we will run out of oil.

-We buy some of our oil from questionable countries.

– Injustice is committed all around the world, and there are people who are threatening us.

-There are a lot of people who illegally break into our country and work unfair wages because they are not citizens.

-Terrorism (both in a McVeigh and a Taliban sense of the word) is a threat to us, and it is the Government’s job to do something about it.

If we can agree on these types of terms, we should be able to respectfully work out where our country can go from here.

Long time no post

So I know that I havent posted in a while, which is only my fault. I had a great birthday this year, Joanna and I had a wonderful day together. I got books, clothes, CDs, an Xbox game, and even a flashlight! It was really great to hear from everyone as they wished me happy B day, and I wanted to go ahead and say thanks in the laziest way possible; right now. Don’t like it? Too bad, its my Birthday and I do what I want.

I have found some new exciting things to read, and its been really tough choosing which of them to read, and play my game as well. I’ve also been working on my book that I have set to the side lately. I know that I want to write, I know that I have a story to tell in my head, but at the same time I just seem to make too many excuses. My sister Sarah recommended me to start following a guy on Twitter, and just a few days later, he was tweeting about excuses he tells himself to keep him from writing. It really got me thinking about the excuses I make up

1. I’m tired. I’ve been at work all day, I mowed the lawn, and now I just want to sit back and do nothing for a while. I don’t believe in “days off”. If I don’t have to clock in, then theres at least ten things that need to happen around the house. I feel guilty for waking up in the morning and sitting around the house all day. So I clean up around the house, put in a load of laundry, mow the lawn, and take some time to relax, never thinking of the notepad next to my desk. What I have started to remind myself of, however is that I am not making it a priority. If I want to be a writer, I have to write. Plenty of people work two or three jobs, all I have to do is make it a priority as my part time job.

2. I don’t have the energy for it today. I have 40 hours of work, plenty of things to do around the house, and a wife to spend time with. If I think of writing after all of that, I just begin to feel too mentally worn out to do anything. Its like after your U.S. History final exam. You spend so much time memorizing dates and pulling your brain across land, sea, and time as you answer your exam as quickly as possible, that you can’t possibly comprehend going to your English test on Shakespeare in the next hour. But the truth is that you decide your own endurance level. Whether physical or mental, you have the ability to set your own endurance.

My Dad told me a story of a marathon runner whose goal was not to hit the 26 miles in his older age, but to go one mailbox further every time he ran. If I asked you to run a 26.2 mile run in a few months, you would probably laugh in my face. Yet if we get ourselves one more mailbox further every day, we get to define our own endurance. So now, I try to write every day. Even if its just a few sentences, its taking my mind a little more juice to write, making it easier the next time.

3. I have nothing interesting or original to say. I mean, come on; Nicholas Sparks took all the good romance (using GOOD as a loose term implying only he has sold a lot of books), Stephen King took all the creepy stuff, Dean Koontz and Tom Clancy have the suspense, and Anne Rice has a whole lot of wierd. How am I expected to have anything original when I haven’t even needed to talk about classic authors?

Here I don’t have any solid words of encouragement for any writers like the others. You can’t tell yourself “you are unique and special. Everyone will love what it is you have to say.” I really can’t though, because some people just aren’t that creative. What I tell myself is that I have to try. I have things I want to write; in blogs, stories, and songs. I want to write and see for myself if its possible to become a writer. Essentially, if you are supposed to do what you do, work hard at it, and it will work out one day.

Anyways, this post is done and I’m working on a few more.

First Post!

Originally posted 2/20/2010

Alright, this is my second attempt at a blog. Who knows if it will work or not, but nevertheless I will try.

For those that Don’t know me, My name is Dan, I live in the Nashville area, I’m married, and I love to write.
I’m not sure what this blog is going to be about, but I think that it will at least be beneficial to me as I love to write and am looking for an outlet.