Thieving Vending Machine Made Retribution

Last week I made my way over the vending machine at work, put my dollar in the slot, and pressed F3 for a Diet Coke. My 15 cents change clanged in the coin slot, and inside the machine itself, through the plastic guard, I could see and hear the soda flap open. But no soda came out.

$#@!

So I start giving the vending machine a few hip checks and shakes trying to shake the soda loose. Still no luck.

Annoyed, I stared at the machine, and there on the front panel was a number to cLast week I made my way over the vending machine at work, put my dollar in the slot, and pressed F3 for a Diet Coke. My 15 cents change clanged in the coin slot, and inside the machine itself, through the plastic guard, I could see and hear the soda flap open. But no soda came out.

$#@!

So I start giving the vending machine a few hip checks and shakes trying to shake the soda loose. Still no luck.

Annoyed, I stared at the machine, and there on the front panel was a number to call for customer service, so call I did. I got a very nice woman on the phone, and I explained my situation. She said that, if I was willing, to put another dollar in the slot and try again, and then get two sodas, as sometimes the machine just needs one soda to jar the other one loose. I shrugged, and then decided to try it. I got another 15 cents change.

Again. No luck with the soda.

The woman on the phone then thanked me for my patience, and asked me for my home address, and promised to refund my $1.70. I sorta rolled my eyes, figuring I was screwed out of my money, and then forgot about it.

Well, a few days later I received an envelope from the vending machine company, with a form letter apologizing for the problem, as well as a dollar bill, and seventy cents scotch taped to the letter!

I’m not sure if there’s a moral to the story here, but if a vending machine company can make good, then maybe anything is possible.

Russ’s Newsletter: Vol. 3, No. 1

Hi Gang,

First off I want to wish everybody a happy and healthy new year, and hope that your 2009 is starting off well. I know it’s rough waters out there on the economic and job front, and we’ve pretty much all been affected in one way or another, so just know my best wishes are with you all.

On that note, let’s leave our troubles behind for a while and focus on something fun!

* As you know I launched the [i]Finders Keepers [/i]animated video trailer late last year, and I’ve Hi Gang,

First off I want to wish everybody a happy and healthy new year, and hope that your 2009 is starting off well. I know it’s rough waters out there on the economic and job front, and we’ve pretty much all been affected in one way or another, so just know my best wishes are with you all.

On that note, let’s leave our troubles behind for a while and focus on something fun!

* As you know I launched the [i]Finders Keepers [/i]animated video trailer late last year, and I’ve finally gotten that bad boy burned to promotional DVDs. I’ll be sending them out to the various Hollywood types and taking them with me to the San Diego Comic-Con in July. So keep your fingers crossed that this trailer will help the Hollywood folks see what a rollicking great movie [i]Finders Keepers[/i] can be, and then pony up a great, big Hollywood check to get this story on the big screen!

* Speaking of conventions … you guessed it. Convention Season 2009 is officially underway! Next week is the NYC Comic-Con, and you bet your boots I’ll be there taking photos, pumping [i]Finders Keepers[/i], and then reporting back on all the news that’s fit to print. Partners-in-Creative Crime Rich Koslowski and Jim Chambers will will be joining me throughout the weekend, so it’s sure to be a heckuva good time. Check back in about two weeks for blogs and photos.

* On the Crossline front, I’ve officially pushed past the two-thirds mark, and have the end of the first draft in my sights. As typically happens, it’s taking me just a wee bit longer than I anticipated to finish, but be rest assured I’m plugging away on the ending, and then will work on refining this baby so its set for maximum adventure!

* And for the first official spotlight of 2009 I want to alert you all to a movie that you will almost certainly be hearing about. Close friend Todd Giglio and his partner-in-crime Chris Springer wrote, directed, starred, produced, as well as wrote and performed all the music, for [i]Drawing with Chalk[/i] ([b]www.drawingwithchalk.com[/b]), a tale of two guys struggling with 40 as it slams up against their rock-star dreams. I’ve known Todd for almost 20 years, so maybe I’m slightly biased here, but when this movie comes out, run to the theater. They had a screening last week in Tribeca for friends and family, and all I can say is: Wow. It’s really good.

If you want to watch the movie trailer, go to www.drawingwithchalk.com, and click on the Previews tab.

That’s all she wrote for this edition. I’ll be back soon with more updates on my adventures in publishing and give a sneak peak at what 2009 has is store for us.

Thanks!

Russ

www.findersk.com

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/01/31 11:18

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/02/02 09:12

Go See This Movie! Drawing with Chalk!

I know I usually serve up my movie reviews in the MOVIES section, but this is a special occasion.

This weekend I attended a private screening of [i]Drawing with Chalk[/i], a movie that you will surely be hearing about in the days to come. [i]Drawing with Chalk[/i] is the debut film from Todd Giglio, a long-time friend of mine who has, quite frankly, captured movie magic.

[i]Drawing with Chalk[/i] is about two best friends, who, at 40, are living in a small town in upstate NY, still I know I usually serve up my movie reviews in the MOVIES section, but this is a special occasion.

This weekend I attended a private screening of [i]Drawing with Chalk[/i], a movie that you will surely be hearing about in the days to come. [i]Drawing with Chalk[/i] is the debut film from Todd Giglio, a long-time friend of mine who has, quite frankly, captured movie magic.

[i]Drawing with Chalk[/i] is about two best friends, who, at 40, are living in a small town in upstate NY, still trying to make it in the music business. But Jay is married, has a five-year-old son and demanding in-laws, while Matt still lives at home with his dad, not at all ready to grow up. [i]Drawing with Chalk[/i] deals with their struggles to face reality, and the choices they make along the way. This movie is real, and funny and powerful.

Now the real brilliance comes from the fact that Todd, with his creative partner Chris Springer, wrote, directed, starred and produced the movie, as well as wrote and perfored all the music.

Todd and Chris didn’t just make a really good movie for guys who did this on their own, they made [i]a really good movie[/i]. Period.

They’re now looking to get [i]Drawing with Chalk[/i] into film festivals and ultimately, picked up by a major studio.

If you want to see a trailer for [i]Drawing with Chalk[/i], go to www.drawingwithchalk.com and then click on the PREVIEWS tab.

It was a real thrill to see this movie, and knowing Todd for half my life makes seeing the movie that much more special.

[i]Drawing with Chalk[/i].

Look for it. You won’t be disappointed.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/01/28 16:58

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/01/29 05:57

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/01/29 09:01

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/02/02 09:12

Finders Keepers Gets an Unexpected Fan!

To varying degrees, all writers love praise. I mean, who doesn’t want to hear that something we’ve written was really good, or that someone really enjoyed one of our tales?

I’m no different. I can’t say I live and die with every assessment of my work (I’d go completely cuckoo if that were the case), but it’s always nice to get a compliment, especially when they come unexpectedly. Here’s a good one:

Last night after work I changed my clothes and hit the couch, tired from a long day. LTo varying degrees, all writers love praise. I mean, who doesn’t want to hear that something we’ve written was really good, or that someone really enjoyed one of our tales?

I’m no different. I can’t say I live and die with every assessment of my work (I’d go completely cuckoo if that were the case), but it’s always nice to get a compliment, especially when they come unexpectedly. Here’s a good one:

Last night after work I changed my clothes and hit the couch, tired from a long day. Liz and I were catching up, and just as I settled into my corner spot, Liz explained the following:

Since she works at home three days a week, and goes into the office the other two, she prints out a lot of forms on the home printer. And since we go through a lot of paper–mainly because of me, as a result of my books–we have a lot of scrap paper in the house. I mean, [i]a lot[/i]. To save a few trees, we often print out working drafts of documents on the back of the scrap paper, as she did in this case.

Turns out Liz passed along those work documents to a colleague. A few days later, her colleague reported back that as she was reviewing the documents Liz had printed out, she realized there was something typed out on the back of the pages. She flipped them over, only to find a section of [i]Finders Keepers[/i]. She got a quick chuckle, and figured, [i]hey, it’s here, I’ll check this out[/i]. And she did.

She then reported back to Liz that she not only read three pages of [i]Finders Keepers[/i], but that she laughed out loud doing so, and now wants to read the whole book!

Now that’s what I call a compliment!

Subway Stories: Not on the Door Motherf—er!

I’m on the subway the other day after work and I wasn’t happy. I had just left the chiropractor’s office–he really gave me a snap, crackle pop–so I was really sore and just not in the mood, not to mention that I had just the [i]worst[/i] day at work.

Once on the subway platform I had to wait almost 15 minutes for the Queens bound R train to come by due to delays, and when I finally got on the subway, it was packed, and I had to stand, which, for me, is a double whammy. Not only is it unI’m on the subway the other day after work and I wasn’t happy. I had just left the chiropractor’s office–he really gave me a snap, crackle pop–so I was really sore and just not in the mood, not to mention that I had just the [i]worst[/i] day at work.

Once on the subway platform I had to wait almost 15 minutes for the Queens bound R train to come by due to delays, and when I finally got on the subway, it was packed, and I had to stand, which, for me, is a double whammy. Not only is it uncomfortable and tiring having to stand up in a cramped space, but because of my sore back, standing up for too long is really painful for me.

And then the fun began.

I didn’t really notice it at first, because you just drone out as much subway noise as you can, but after a while I kept hearing some rumbling, someone complaining about … something. I didn’t know what it was, and, honestly, I didn’t want to know. But it persisted, and finally I turned around and found the source of the ruckus. In the back corner of the subway car–and not far from where I was standing–a homeless man, or at the very least, an un-medicated man, was giving an angry lecture. Or a rant. Or a scolding.

"Nahn-thurders," he said. "Nahn-thurders."

Well, I had no idea what a nahn-thurder was, and figured it wasn’t worth trying to figure out. Just leave me out of it. But then it all came into focus.

If you’ve never been on a NYC subway car, on many of the doors are stickers that have a little diagram and notice that says, "Don’t lean on the doors." Well guess what? We all lean on the doors. If you have to stand, it’s probably the most comfortable way to ride the subway. The MTA will just have to get over it. But this guy couldn’t.

It was plain to see that a young couple was, indeed, leaning against the doors, and this guy wasn’t having it. So again: "Not on the doors," he growled. "Not on the doors." When they didn’t move, he got increasingly agitated. He was showing teeth. "Not on the doors, motherf—ers! Not on the doors." In fact, he’s now not only growling and cursing, he’s getting physical. He stands and starts swinging his arms like a boxer in training, punching the air.

Right cross, left cross.

Right cross, left cross.

We’re all looking at this, on the one hand realizing that this poor guy has some form of mental illness and probably just can’t help himself, and on the other hand wondering if he’s literally going to attack these people, and then if he does, do we need to intervene.

"Not on the doors, motherf—ers! Not on the doors."

Right cross, left cross.

Right cross, left cross.

"Not on the doors, motherf—ers! Motherf—ers! Motherf—ers! Motherf—ers!"

I think you can see by now that things were getting a little tense. It would have been borderline funny if the threat of actual danger wasn’t hovering over us.

So when we came to the next stop, I’ll just say that it didn’t take me long to exit the train and take the next one.

Is Finders Keepers ThisClose to Landing a Deal?

As any writer will tell you, waiting to get the nod is one, if the not, the most exasperating element of the process. You wait and wait and wait to hear if you’re getting a deal. But that’s just part of it. You know this going in, and you figure that, if I just hang in there long enough, my time will come. And it will. And maybe soon.

The world is filled with best-selling authors who got rejected across the board at the beginning, only to come roaring back with a vengeance. It’s the ones tAs any writer will tell you, waiting to get the nod is one, if the not, the most exasperating element of the process. You wait and wait and wait to hear if you’re getting a deal. But that’s just part of it. You know this going in, and you figure that, if I just hang in there long enough, my time will come. And it will. And maybe soon.

The world is filled with best-selling authors who got rejected across the board at the beginning, only to come roaring back with a vengeance. It’s the ones that stick with it after setbacks that wind up taking the world by storm.

So on that track, here’s the latest from the publishers regarding [i]Finders Keepers[/i]. And the quality of the news all depends on how you look at it. Here’s a response from a pretty big publisher, as passed along to me by my agent:

[i]Thanks so much for your exceptional patience while I took a look at FINDERS KEEPERS. You’re right that it’s in the vein of HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE and it’s quite enjoyable in the same way. Colchamiro effectively creates a world apart and his writing is effervescent. Unfortunately … I have to pass on this, with regret, and with the hope that you find the perfect home for it.[/i]

Well … it’s certainly a flattering endorsement, even though they didn’t buy it. So either Finders Keepers is [i]thisclose[/i] to landing a deal … or the gods just love to torture me!

Maybe both.

Still, it’s encouraging to know that the buzz is circulating and I’m building momentum. It’s just a matter of time before [i]Finders Keepers[/i] hits.

Subway Stories: I Went Blind! Kinda

I’m on the subway the other day on my way to work, just reading the paper, like I do every day. Because I’m near sighted, I don’t need my glasses to read, so I usually take them off when I’ve got the paper, and put them in my glasses case, and tuck that away in my bag.

As I finished with the paper coming up near the Rockefeller Center stop on the F line, it was time to put my paper away and take out my glasses. So into my bag I reach. I pulled out my glasses case, took hold of my glasses .I’m on the subway the other day on my way to work, just reading the paper, like I do every day. Because I’m near sighted, I don’t need my glasses to read, so I usually take them off when I’ve got the paper, and put them in my glasses case, and tuck that away in my bag.

As I finished with the paper coming up near the Rockefeller Center stop on the F line, it was time to put my paper away and take out my glasses. So into my bag I reach. I pulled out my glasses case, took hold of my glasses … and the freakin’ arm snapped off!

Again!

Same thing happened about 6 months ago. I’m so pissed!

So now I have to wear my old pair, which isn’t so bad, except that they’re a bit heavy, and it hurts the bridge of my nose if I have them on too long. And I have to go back to the eye glass shop and chew them out, and see if there’s any way for me to get them replaced either for free or at a discount.

In the mean time, however, I’m now finally convinced it’s time for me to get contacts. I’ve put it off all these years, but this has just put me over the edge.

Still … for the money I’ve spent on these damn glasses–between the broken arms and the clip-ons–I need to get more out of this. I’m not saying contacts is the perfect solution, but this is just too much!

Russ’s Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 1 – Drawing with Chalk Movie Premiere!

Hi Gang,

 

First off I want to wish everybody a happy and healthy new year, and hope that your 2009 is starting off well. I know it’s rough waters out there on the economic and job front, and we’ve pretty much all been affected in one way or another, so just know my best wishes are with you all.

 

On that note, let’s leave our troubles behind for a while and focus on something fun!

 

* As you know I launched the Finders Keepers animated video trailer late last year, and I’ve finally gotten that bad boy burned to promotional DVDs. I’ll be sending them out to the various Hollywood types and taking them with me to the San Diego Comic-Con in July. So keep your fingers crossed that this trailer will help the Hollywood folks see what a rollicking great movie Finders Keepers can be, and then pony up a great, big Hollywood check to get this story on the big screen!

 

* Speaking of conventions … you guessed it. Convention Season 2009 is officially underway! Next week is the NYC Comic-Con, and you bet your boots I’ll be there taking photos, pumping Finders Keepers, and then reporting back on all the news that’s fit to print. Partners-in-Creative Crime Rich Koslowski and Jim Chambers will will be joining me throughout the weekend, so it’s sure to be a heckuva good time. Check back in about two weeks for blogs and photos.

 

* On the Crossline front, I’ve officially pushed past the two-thirds mark, and have the end of the first draft in my sights. As typically happens, it’s taking me just a wee bit longer than I anticipated to finish, but be rest assured I’m plugging away on the ending, and then will work on refining this baby so its set for maximum adventure!

 

* And for the first official spotlight of 2009 I want to alert you all to a movie that you will almost certainly be hearing about. Close friend Todd Gilio and his partner-in-crime Chris Springer wrote, directed, starred, produced, as well as wrote and performed all the music, for Drawing with Chalk (www.drawingwithchalk.com), a tale of two guys struggling with 40 as it slams up against their rock-star dreams. I’ve known Todd for almost 20 years, so maybe I’m slightly biased here, but when this movie comes out, run to the theater. They had a screening last week in Tribeca for friends and family, and all I can say is: Wow. It’s really good.

 

If you want to watch the movie trailer, go to www.drawingwithchalk.com, and click on the Previews tab.

 

That’s all she wrote for this edition. I’ll be back soon with more updates on my adventures in publishing and give a sneak peak at what 2009 has is store for us.

 

Thanks!

Russ

www.findersk.com

My Apartment Was Robbed – Part III

It’s been almost two months, but I’ve finally gotten some resolution on my camera theft from my apartment.

As you may recall, I was robbed the day after Thanksgiving. I had a big-screen TV delivered, and when my back was turned, the delivery guys stole my camera, which was sitting out on the table. Well, I don’t have video surveillance that they took it, but it was on the table when they arrived and the camera was gone when they were gone. You do the math.

And that’s exactly what happeIt’s been almost two months, but I’ve finally gotten some resolution on my camera theft from my apartment.

As you may recall, I was robbed the day after Thanksgiving. I had a big-screen TV delivered, and when my back was turned, the delivery guys stole my camera, which was sitting out on the table. Well, I don’t have video surveillance that they took it, but it was on the table when they arrived and the camera was gone when they were gone. You do the math.

And that’s exactly what happened. The local retailer in question was PC Richards, and, much to my surprise, I’ve been reimbursed–in full–for my camera. Their head of security didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk. He said he would investigate – he did. He said he would come by my apartment personally and talk to me – he did. He said he would question the drivers hard (they were contracted from an agency; they were not PC Richards employees) – he did. And he said, if it was at all possible, he would get me some compensation for my camera, even though we couldn’t technically prove the drivers stole it – he did.

The head of security arranged for PC Richards to supply me with a new camera. I was certainly appreciative, but since I wasn’t sure I wanted the camera they offered, instead I requested that they give me PC Richards gift cards instead at the value of my stolen camera, so I could buy what I wanted. It took a little doing, but that’s exactly what happened.

In my wildest dreams I never thought I’d get my money back. I did. And I never thought they would apologize up and down, and take responsibility. They did.

I’m still pissed my camera was stolen in the first place, but I’ll say this – PC Richards claims to be a company of integrity. They lived up to it.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/01/23 11:37

My Two New Cats? Missed By That Much

New Year’s Eve day Liz and I were running some errands in the city, one of them being to look for a new dog at Bide-a-Wee, the animal shelter on the east side. We had been there before, and I liked it, so we took another trip. Turns out they didn’t really have any dogs we were interested in, but I figured, [i]hey, we’re here, I’ll just check out the cats. Just to see them[/i]. It was the holidays, and heck, I wanted a treat, if only for a few minutes.

Into the cat room I went, and naturalNew Year’s Eve day Liz and I were running some errands in the city, one of them being to look for a new dog at Bide-a-Wee, the animal shelter on the east side. We had been there before, and I liked it, so we took another trip. Turns out they didn’t really have any dogs we were interested in, but I figured, [i]hey, we’re here, I’ll just check out the cats. Just to see them[/i]. It was the holidays, and heck, I wanted a treat, if only for a few minutes.

Into the cat room I went, and naturally within minutes–okay, seconds–I was all goo-goo eyed over them. I can’t help it. I really want another cat. But after hanging out with some of the bigger cats, it was time for us to go. We were there for a dog, so why keep torturing myself?

But on my way out, I saw it. Or should I say, I saw them.

In a cage was not one, but two cats. Brothers. They were five months old, so cute, and the same general breed as Alex.

My radar went cuckoo for Coco Puffs.

I asked the cat dude If I could see them, and of course I just flipped out. So from there they took us into a separate room where you get to just hang out with the animal(s) you’re considering for adoption.

The two cats were just playing away, climbing up this small Christmas tree, play fighting with each other.

Just to get to this point, a pretty major shift has occurred for us. Liz and I were there for a dog, we’re going to get a dog, regardless, so cats are not really in the cards for the time being. For me, this was like test driving a car you know you can’t afford and will never buy. You just want to imagine, if only for a little while, that it could be yours. That it [i]is[/i] yours.

And then a funny thing happened. I was digging the cats. Liz was even digging themm and after a while, I sorta, kinda suggested that I [i]really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really[/i] wanted to get them. I mean, I know we couldn’t [i]get[/i] them, but that didn’t stop me from saying how much I [i]wanted[/i] them.

And then another funny thing happened. The idea of actually taking the cats–the fantasy–started to drift into the realm of maybe. Of reality.

Now this is big.

Big, big, big.

At this point it’s not me saying how much I want these cats, but should we seriously adopt them? I want to–I know I shouldn’t–but I want to anyway. So Liz and I discuss. We hem and haw. We go over the pros (I want them! They’re so cute) and the cons (cons, shmons), and finally, after about a half hour, I look over at Liz and say, "So? Should we do it?"

Her answer? "Okay. Let’s do it."

[i]Say what now?[/i]

I’m in total shock, but it’s a great shock, but I’m in shock nonetheless. I expected Liz to shoot the idea down. And rightfully so. But if she was in, I was in.

Next I tell the Bide-a-wee staff that I’ll take them, I fill out the necessary paperwork, and ten minutes later … they’re mine.

Mine, mine, mine, mine.

Mine.

And then …

Reality set in. As much as I really wanted them, as much as they seemed like the perfect cats for me, for us, I had this pang in my gut that said, "Dude, you know you can’t do this."

Naturally, I ignored that feeling.

But it didn’t go away. And against all the odds, I had to back out. I actually looked Liz right in the eye and said, "We can’t. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we can’t."

And we didn’t.

In the end it was just a crazy flirtation with an impulse buy that didn’t quite come to be. Liz is still shocked I pulled the plug, but even I had to admit to myself that it was just too big of a commitment to do on the fly. The timing wasn’t right, even if I really wanted it to happen.

Oh, well. Maybe next time.

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