Saturday, December 16, 2006


I've used Sam's Club for four years now, and generally been extremely satisfied with them. In particular, I love the way I can order groceries online so they are waiting for me when I come to pick them up. It's like something out of the future as predicted in the 1970's!

Unfortunately, they are having some absolutely awful problems with their website, both the pages on the site and the registration/account system. Here is the email I sent them about why I'm reluctantly and unhappily leaving Sam's Club and trying Costco until they fix those problems:



I always used Sam's Club until now, but due to the severe problems (which I
reported on the phone) with your website and also with my registration, I plan
to try Costco until these problems are resolved.

I also plan to put this information -- including the details of the problems and
my decision to try Costco -- on my blog.

I hope that you can fix the problems with your website and also with my

As a reminder, these problems are:

1. Every product is listed as unavailable in Club #8140.

2. In "Shop By Category," in every category, the top three rows of
sub-categories (which are the ones that got covered by those annoying pop-up
advertisements) are not clickable, even after the pop-up advertisement finally
goes away.

3. When I got a replacement card (because my old card was lost), the website
forced me to re-register AND choose a new email address AND it no longer has
access to my click-and-pull lists.

These are the sort of problems I expect from webpages done by
high school students who have not mastered HTML.

I know that Sam's Club is not a cheap fly-by-night organization
that can't afford to hire competent people as webmasters, so
I assume there is some other reason why your webmasters are
apparently so incompetent. I'm just *really* curious what that
explanation could be.

John Fast

P.S.: When I tried to send this using the "E-mail Sam's Club" feature
on your website I got a "severe error" message, so I'm sending this by regular
email. It just keeps getting deeper and deeper, doesn't it?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

From "What RPG Player (Not Character) Type Are You?"

"You scored as Storyteller.

The Storyteller is in it for the plot: the sense of mystery and the fun of participating in a narrative that has the satisfying arc of a good book or movie. He enjoys interacting with well-defined NPCs, even preferring antagonists who have genuine motivations and personality to mere monsters. To the Storyteller, the greatest reward of the game is participating in a compelling story with interesting and unpredictable plot threads, in which his actions and those of his fellow characters determine the resolution. With apologies to Robin Laws.

Storyteller 90%
Tactician 85%
Specialist 85%
Character Player 55%
Casual Gamer 50%
Power Gamer 15%
Weekend Warrior 10%"

Courtesy of CharlesRyan who created the quiz,
Rob Laws who created the system of classification,
Hank Harwell who mentioned it on the
Christian Gamers' Guild (in their Yahoogroup),
and the late Glenn Blacow, the greatest gamemaster
in the world, who first came up with the idea of
classifying games and players, may he rest in peace.

BTW, more information on player styles, using Rob's
classification, is in the Dungeon Master's Guide II
and in Dungeon Master (sic) for Dummies.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Real War for Real Men

Why a real war on terrorism brings out the best in us. By Robert Wright - Slate Magazine

I've been in love with Robert Wright's brilliance ever since I read his article on sociobiology, "Why Men Are Such Beasts," in my favorite neoliberal mag, The New Republic. This series is an excellent idea for strategy for a *real* war on terrorism, not the counterproductive fiasco that the Dubya administration is trying to pass off as one. (For the record, I supported the invasion of AghanIraq, but not the occupation.)