Archive for the ‘lancaster’ Category

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ArtVoice’s ‘Best Of Buffalo’ Polls are now OPEN!

March 22, 2015

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Hey all,

ArtVoice’s prestigious and king-making ‘Best Of Buffalo’ ballots are now open.  Please take the time to register and vote for Yours Truly as well as any and all friends of my show.  You can sign up and vote right HERE:

ArtVoice Best Of Buffalo

…and here are my recommendations, talented people and loyal friends of #BigWordsVideo.  As long as you have an email address, you’re eligible to vote.  This is a really big deal for a lot of these people, so please take the time to vote.

Best Website: BuffaloComedy.com
Best Poet: Marina Blitshteyn
Best Local Writer: Tom Waters
Best Photographer: Nancy Parisi
Best Video Artist/Filmmaker: Emil Novak Sr.
Best Burlesque Performer: The Stripteasers
Best Standup Comic: Jameel Key
Best Movie Theater: North Park
Best Jazz Musician: Will Holton
Best Rock/Blues Musician: Tommy Z.
Best Jazz Act: Will Holton
Best Rock Act: Black Widow/Widow Maker
Best Country Act: Blood Money
Best Original Music: Busted Stuff
Best Acoustic Act: Michael Bly Band
Best Local Hip Hop: Art ‘Way Of Life’ Shepard
Best New Band: Folkfaces
Best Open Mic: Wednesday’s At Milkie’s On Elmwood
Best Club DJ: DJ Soma
Best Female Vocalist: Lana Notaro Hergert
Best Male Vocalist: Michael Hund
Best New Restaurant: Hot Mama’s Canteen
Best Chef: Bob Desiderio
Best BBQ: Al-E-Oops
Best Beef On Weck: My Little Margie’s
Best Burger: Grover’s
Best Steak: The Red Osier
Best Ice Cream: Taffy’s
Best Wings: Penora’s
Best Fish Fry: My Little Margie’s
Best Italian For Family Dining: Desiderio’s/Lancaster Ale House
Best Stellar Restaurant Service: Desiderio’s/Lancaster Ale House
Best Bookstore: WNY Book & Arts Center

Happy Voting & Good Luck, Everybody!

Tom

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Big Words Video @The 2014 Buffalo Night Life Music & Club Awards!

January 24, 2015

On Wednesday this week (January 21st), Night Life Publisher Ed Honeck celebrated his birthday.  The Buffalo Night Life Music & Club Awards also took place at The Cove in Depew, having been rescheduled due to the Winter Blast or whatever the hell you want to call it that took place last November.  Thanks entirely to Ed (and our long, long, very long history together), Big Words Video had the exclusive rights to the Music & Club Awards.  I was less than happy with the results.

The ceremony and the shows were fantastic.  The artists, performers and bands who volunteered their time so that we could interview them were great.  My co-host Timmy C. was on point as I expected him to be.  The lighting was deplorable, though.  This month I upgraded to a new camera for the new and improved Big Words One Man Mobile Unit (a term you might remember from the podcasting days of yore).  I didn’t get familiar or comfortable with the camera before we started shooting with it.  So in the final analysis, the blame rests on my shoulders.  What we’re left with here is a shoddy end product.  Clips 1-3 are passable by amateur video standards and 4 and 5 are just downright awful where lighting is concerned.

I spent the better part of a day uploading, tagging and scripting the clips and grappled with whether or not I should post them for the public at all and the decision I came to was this: post the videos warts and all.  Big Words Radio went through the same growing pains in 2008 so it shouldn’t have come as any surprise that I went through the same thing again.  I didn’t learn from history so I was doomed to repeat it, end of story.  I’ll do better next time, sound good?

Here’s your breakdown for the clips which were uploaded in chronological order:

Clip 1: Lana from Black Widow

Clip 2: Jack McArdle from 12 Pack Jack

Clip 3: Vid from Nerds Gone Wild

Clip 4: Busted Stuff

Clip 5: Tommy Z. & Damone Johnson

I owe a huge debt of thanks to Ed Honeck, all of the artists who participated and the staff and proprietors of The Cove for giving us free reign throughout the building.  If there’s one thing I realized at the awards it was that I’ve been out of the game for so long that I don’t recognize most (if any) of the newer players in the Buffalo music industry.  Black Widow is an institution.  Tommy Z. is an institution.  Busted Stuff just took home their 6th award in a row and I’ve loved 12 Pack Jack since the first time I saw them at Double D’s Queen City Grill some 7 years ago.  Get the picture?

Big Words Video will be back for the next ceremony for more clips, more guests and a better battle plan.  As for these five videos, please take the time to Like & Share as always.  If you really want to be my best friend, ‘Subscribe’ and keep yourself up to date with all things #BigWordsVideo.  And yes, we came for the buffet.

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You’re Doing It Wrong: My Three Month Experience With Logitech Customer Service

December 26, 2014
"The #1-selling case for iPad" according to Logitech's packaging.  It's safe to say that there are one or two design flaws.

“The #1-selling case for iPad” according to Logitech’s packaging. It’s safe to say that there are one or two design flaws.

Before I get started, let me qualify myself. I’ve worked in customer service (in one form or another) since I was sixteen years old. Whether it was on the front lines during Christmas in retail, being the first line of defense for a home security company, managing a locally owned movie theater and just about everything in between that you could think of, I have a pretty good grasp of what good service is and how that trickles down from a corporate or privately held company philosophy. The golden rule remains that you should treat other people the way that you’d like to be treated. Some insist that the customer is always right. That’s not a belief I subscribe to, but within reason, you should try to take care of the customer’s needs.

That being said, my three month ordeal with Logitech is (without a doubt) the worst experience I have ever had with any company in my entire life. I am appalled at the leaps, hurdles and bureaucratic bullshit that I had to endure to fulfill a replacement for a product that was well within warranty. After what I went through, I would never recommend them as a company to anyone. Quite to the contrary, I will most likely go out of my way to tell people NOT to do business with them or support their products. Here’s what happened. Up until three months ago, I loved Logitech. They make a lot of electronic accessories and I was familiar with their headsets and game controllers from my time as a manager for Electronics Boutique. Their accessories were always a bit more expensive than their competitors, but they were also better designed, sleeker and longer lasting than their counterparts. They gained a reputation for having responsive, durable accessories with inspired design.

Over the summer I bought an iPad Air. When looking around for a keyboard/carrying case combo, I naturally selected Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard Folio ($99). It’s a compact case that was advertised (on the packaging) as the “#1Selling Case for the iPad”. This may have more to do with the prominent marketing and merchandising of their product in Apple stores than the quality and durability of the product itself. The case functions with magnets on the bottom (near the keyboard) and a pair of plastic bordered clips at the top rather than the all-inclusive left and right mesh-gripping sides that I’ve seen on similar products.

Shortly after I bought the case my iPad fell out onto the floor. I was walking with the iPad in the upright position, so one could argue that it was my fault. I wasn’t running, I wasn’t jerking the case up and down while moving, I was just walking with the case in order to keep busy during a commercial break on the show I was watching. Luckily, the iPad wasn’t damaged. I wasn’t as lucky the second time. The next time it happened (about a month later), the iPad fell down a concrete set of steps and cracked irreparably across the screen in multiple places. It appears as if the two tiny plastic border clips at the top weren’t as tight in their grip on the iPad as they were when I bought the product. Thankfully, I purchased Apple Care with the iPad, and was able to replace it for a $50 fee. As for the case, I noticed a hairline fracture on the border clip at the top right. AT NO TIME did the Folio case fall to the ground. I had to apply some Gorilla Glue to the crack, which made the entire case combo look ridiculous.  A week later I set the iPad on a counter with the case closed and my new iPad slipped and fell onto the floor. The right border clip had cracked and fallen off completely. This is just poor structural design.

On or around October 15th of this year I filed a warranty claim through Logitech’s website. I included my entire original receipt information, warranty information, serial number and manufacturer number as requested. The generated response by a Lani V. informed me that the company would get a hold of me within seven to ten business days. They didn’t. I followed up with the company and sent an email on October 26th including pictures of the damage. By November 5th, I still hadn’t heard from anybody via phone or email, so I re-sent my previous email. Twice. I sent a new email referencing my case number on November 9th explaining the entire experience and asking for a new case as well as some sort of reimbursement for the damage directly caused as a result of using their case. No one from Logitech called or responded to my email.

By November 19th, I called Logitech at their non-1-800 number, waited on hold for twenty minutes and spoke to a Daryl L., who didn’t leave his name in the body of the email he sent me. Much like my original email over a month earlier, Daryl L. told me that the case was covered under a two year warranty and that I would be receiving my replacement. He had me re-send my original email (which I had already sent multiple times). We got disconnected. A few days later on November 22nd (when I had time to dial long distance and sit on hold for awhile), I called Logitech again to make sure that my replacement was sent out. I’m not sure who I spoke to that particular time as I have no notation in my emails and they never offered their name on the phone or email. In my experience, if a customer service representative won’t offer you their name it’s either because they’re doing something they’re not supposed to do or because they don’t want to get in trouble. The email I sent out THAT day was another trio of pictures displaying the structural flaws of the case along with all of my warranty information (serial #, manufacturer’s #, etc.) all over again.

Another month passed. I was amazed that I still hadn’t received my replacement and had long since purchased a Belkin Folio case for $20 less with better functionality, a longer charge cord and a better grip on the iPad itself. Out of determination and sheer curiosity at just how long Logitech was going to draw this fiasco out, I called Logitech again at their non-1-800 number and spoke to someone else who didn’t offer their name. This was last week, December 17th. When I asked why it was taking so long to reach my home, the male customer servicer rep blamed it on UPS. In my almost forty years on this planet as a manager for a video game retailer, a shipping and receiving employee for big box stores and as someone who’s ordered plenty of things online that ship via UPS, I have NEVER known UPS to take one month to ship anything to anyone anywhere for any reason. It sounded like a complete cop-out and there is zero doubt in my mind that this customer service rep was trying to shift the blame away from Logitech and onto anyone else. I finally received my replacement Folio keyboard on Christmas Eve this week, over three months after filing the initial claim through Logitech’s website.

This isn’t a case of one person dropping the ball. As a result of this experience, it’s my firm belief that there is a major systemic failure at the core of Logitech’s customer service philosophy. From a lack of response emails to a lack of any accountability by any of the three or four reps I spoke with on the phone to a daisy chain of procedural warranty filing and photograph sending to actually blaming another company, anybody else for their total failure to live up to their product, their warranties or their customers, I am left with the impression that 1) Logitech makes a shoddy product that breaks the tablets said product is designed to protect, 2) Logitech really doesn’t give a shit about their customers after they buy their products and 3) Logitech will go out of their way to avoid accepting responsibility for their products at every single level of their customer service department from their website straight on through to their live customer service department. The three months that I spent with Logitech were without exception the WORST customer experience I have ever had with any company in retail or out of it. I am flabbergasted that they have any brand name reputation at all if this is the way that they treat most customers when they have an issue. Please don’t support the company, their products or their way of doing business.

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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Striking Gold At The WNY Book & Arts Center

December 7, 2014

The Book Reading & Signing today at the WNY Book & Arts Center was something of a fourth quarter Hail Mary.  Is that an appropriate sports metaphor?  I certainly don’t know.  At any rate, attendance wasn’t looking too good from the outset, but a really nice crowd showed up from Amherst, Depew, Lancaster and Buffalo proper, and not only that, they showed up with money!  I’m very grateful to have readers who know that the best way to support local, living authors is with their wallets.  I’m a happy camper after this particular reading, and I certainly wouldn’t mind circling back to WNYBAC again some day.  After two readings in two months, though, this old dog is tired.  That’s it for the live promotions for a little while, at least.  Maybe I’ll see you all on the front lines sometime in the spring.  In the meantime, here’s a clip from today’s 2 hour marathon reading.  Thanks are in order to Rosemarie Williams at WNYBAC as well as all of you who came near and far to see me.  As far as the YouTubes go, you’ll see me (not the other way around) in less than two weeks!

Sharing the Buffalove (ugh…),

Tom Waters

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode IV: ‘Pudding Pops and (You Guessed It) Michael Hund

November 26, 2014

 

Promotional shot for Big Words Video Episode IV by Richard Wicka.

Promotional shot for Big Words Video Episode IV by Richard Wicka.

Recording and producing these shows is entirely too much fun!

For Episode IV of Big Words Video I finally (after years of nagging him) got Night Life Publisher Ed Honeck into the studio.  If you locked the two of us into a room together for a weekend, we would still be talking when you opened the door on the following Monday.  Ed is a dear friend who helped me get my start in the world of Buffalo journalism way back in the year 2000 and we’ve been busy ever since.  A half an hour only gave us the opportunity to chip away at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to clubs, strip clubs, bars, bands, musicians, music awards, newspapers and the people who run them.  As a matter of fact, I think between myself, Ed and Big Words Video Producer Richard Wicka, we probably know (or have met) just about everyone in Buffalo.  Here is your synopsis:

Big Words I Know By Heart Episode IV: ‘Pudding Pops and (You Guessed It) Michael Hund

Tom spends the remainder of ‘Snow-vember’ (sans co-host) with Night Life Magazine publisher Ed Honeck to discuss the impending Music & Club Awards, musicians, strippers and something or other about a town called Ferguson.

As always, please take the time to ‘Like’ (on YouTube) and ‘Share’ the episode (on YouTube).

Thanks are (as always) in order to Richard Wicka and esteemed guest Ed Honeck.  The last minute no-show of my co-host didn’t slow us down one bit.  Award-winning band Busted Stuff are up on deck for Episode V in December!  Stay tuned, folks!

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Final Artwork For Icarus On The Mend Limited Run Hardcover by Six Shot Studios

July 26, 2013

Final Artwork For Icarus On The Mend Limited Run Hardcover by Six Shot Studios

Sharp!

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‘Out With The Old, In With The Newborn’, a recently rejected essay submitted to The Buffalo News

July 24, 2013

For those of you who may have enjoyed reading this-T.W.

Four hours ago my baby son came into the world and I couldn’t be more overjoyed.  Friends warned me that everything would change.  Now I know that it wasn’t a dark prediction so much as a wish fulfilled, or a positive and much needed redirection in our lives.  After crying my eyes out and holding my wife’s hand in the operating room afterwards, I can’t wait for the new road ahead of us.  At six pounds and six ounces (and about a month ahead of schedule), Benjamin Waters made his smashing debut.    

            For the last three years my wife Lindsay and I have been trying for a child and our efforts finally bore fruit last September.  When she broke the news to me with a pregnancy test in one hand after work and a wry joke (‘Honey, we’ve got a problem’), I cracked a grin and embraced her in the kitchen.  It’s cemented in my mind just like our first date on October 15th in 2004.  There are moments you never forget when you’re building a life together.  Our first date, the day I told her I loved her (New Year’s Eve that same year), our wedding day and now, the birth of our child.

            Since we got married there’ve been a lot of hard times and lean months.  Worse along with the better.  I’ve often said that you can’t appreciate the great moments unless you’ve gone through some tough days.  We’ve weathered out most of the worst and moved along to the best time of our lives.  The rough times we’ve suffered through together have made us stronger as a couple and make the wonderful experiences that much more magical. 

            I’ve always been uneasy around newborns.  I even wrote an essay about it (‘March Of The Newborns’ from my third book, First Person, Last Straw).  This little guy was different.  Benjamin Waters turned me around on the entire concept.  Looking through his tiny eyes and cradling his little body in my arms in the Recovery Room I saw an entire universe that was new and fresh to a being that was about to experience everything for the first time.  Not a carbon copy of myself, but a fresh amalgamation of my wife, myself and the generations before us.  Living proof that all of our accomplishments pale in comparison to the life we create, the true legacy that we leave behind some day.

            Parents warned me about getting no sleep, changing a never-ending supply of diapers and getting peed on in the face.  Another friend explained the situation much better by saying that he never understood the concept of being willing to die for someone until he had a child.  Single people spurned the very idea of it and challenged my love of barhopping, going out on a whim or the freedom of independence.  I gladly give it all up to raise a life that we made together. 

            My study has been transformed into a baby room.  Curios, collectibles and knick knacks from my former life have been relocated, packed up, boxed away and retired.  We bought a new, safer car (not a minivan, thank God) so that my transmission wouldn’t die out when I’m taxiing little Benjamin around.  Since the shower, we have clothes for every occasion, accessories for any contingency and enough blankets and homemade quilts to cover the entire household.  Out with the old, in with the newborn. 

            Everything has changed and this isn’t even the first full day.  After a fourteen hour labor and a day filled with caffeine and one meal, I’m still too excited to sleep.  Two sets of first time grandparents are chomping at the bit to spoil our son rotten and I’m more than ready to slow down, stop being so childish and selfish and take care of our child together.  Children change everything.  For the better. 

Tom Waters

-Tom Waters wrote many Club Watch reviews for the Buffalo News along with ten books of essays and poetry.  He looks forward to an early retirement from all that and a new career in carpeting FaceBook with baby pictures.        

                

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