Posts tagged Twitter
Today a guy by the name of Andrew Pierson asked me for pointers for starting an anime club and making it a success. After recovering from the shock of someone actually trying to start a CLUB in the age of the Internet, I realized it was a great question that deserved more than 140 characters in reply.
So here are my immediate thoughts on the matter:
1. Find a meeting location people want to go to. In the era of Xbox Live, teh Interwebz, and on demand television and movies it’s REALLY hard to motivate people to want to leave their apartments/houses to meet up and watch anime together. Thus, come up with a location that is welcoming and interesting enough that people will come back. Having inexpensive food and drink in proximity is a must when considering this.
2. Create a consistent schedule, plan it far in advance, and stick to it. If you decide to meet the second Friday of each month (for example) – check that Friday for at least six months. It would suck if three of them fall on holiday/events that would stop people from coming… and thus eliminate the usefulness of that schedule. Find something that works so folks remember to do it REGULARLY, then stick to it.
3. Dedicate to a series so people come back. Watch a series and pick up where you left off at the next meeting. This will make sure people return as to not miss an episode. Shows are fun to watch together if everyone is into it. (Hence why people still go to movies.) The number one reason people tell me they go to conventions? To hang our with their friends. Keep this in mind when picking a show to watch.
4. Come up with something that makes watching anime at the meeting different. Try to get your hands on a projector and screen. Folks have big TVs, but creating a way for folks to watch anime in a way they can’t at home will prompt them to want to come out more.
5. Invite a hot chick to the meeting. Or two. The male to female ratio at anime club meetings is usually WAY off. Find an awesome nerdy chick to come to meetings, then guys will show up to see if she comes back. (This is the logic followed by comic stores and video game stores – so I know it works.)
So good luck, Andrew. Let me know when you have your first meeting. Maybe I’ll try to stop by.
I’m sitting on Virgin Airlines flight 312 from LAX to MCO after an insanely productive weekend in Los Angeles. Seriously insanely totally mega productive.
It was great.
The low point, though, is sticking in my brain and annoying the hell out of me – so here I am writing about it.
This trip was my first time staying at a Crowne Plaza Hotel. I’m willing to be that it also my last time staying at a Crown Plaza Hotel after the consistently failed service I received from that one hotel. Here’s the skinny:
I got in town last Thursday night and, after a short business dinner, checked into the Crowne Plaza Anaheim. I self parked in a spot on the side of the building, walked in, checked in, and went to sleep. I had to be up at 5:30 AM for 8:00 AM meeting at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Friday was filled with back to back meetings peppered with some locally touristy goodness. I was all over the place, and the evening was topped off with my driving to Los Angeles to have dinner with a friend and his wife and then driving BACK to Anaheim to meet my fellow work makes for a midnight showing of The Avengers because… you know. We’re geeks.
I got back to the hotel at 3:30 AM in the morning which, to my body, felt like 6:30 AM (YAY TIME ZONES.) I drove the rental car along the side of the hotel and discovered that their parking extended WAY back away from the hotel itself. It was literally almost a block away and I couldn’t find a spot. Thus I assumed I had gotten lucky my first night and realized I should just valet the car going forward. No worries.
Or it SHOULD have been “no worries.”
I pulled the car back around to the front and got out. There was no one at the valet stand, so I walked into the lobby to find someone to assist me.
There was no one there, either. I wandered around for a minute and finally hovered around the registration counter on the verge of calling out to see if anyone there. A young man in glasses finally appeared and asked if he could help me.
“Yes,” I said. ”I’d like to valet my car.”
He explained that valet was closed. At this point I was beginning to get a little agitated. His next comments completed my journey to “a lot” agitated.
After he told me that valet was closed, he informed me that was still a way to valet my car (implying he would be more than happy to charge me.) He himself couldn’t park the car, but *I* could park it in valet myself and leave him the keys.
Seriously? The hotel wanted to charge me $16 to let me park my own car in a valet space since they had no space in their own parking lot? I was fuming but not showing it. I merely told the guy at the counter that I would pass and got back in the car determined to find a spot.
I did – in the parking lot for the hotel next door on the opposite side of the hotel along another road away from the Crowne Plaza. Thus I trekked my ass across a long empty parking lot at 4:00 in the morning while exhausted and just “done” with it all.
I posted the following on Twitter when I got back to my room:
(1/4) Hey @CrownePlaza Anaheim: this was my first stay at a #CrownPlaza resort & it will also be my LAST. Tried to valet…
(2/4) park when I got back from a movie, but the front desk guy said he couldn’t drive my car – but would charge me valet fees…
(3/4) to move the cones & let me park it myself. Went to park in general parking instead: no spaces. None…
(4/4) So I had to park in the lot of the hotel next door. Seriously. @CrownePlaza #Service #FAIL
I went to bed. Annoyed.
The next morning I saw this post on Twitter from InternContinental Hotels Group (@IHGCare)
@TomCroom Pls let Duty Manager know or DM details(confirm #,hotel,dates)or email address on profile.We’ll respond.@Crowneplaza ^am
I sent my name, room number, and cell phone number to them via Twitter. Afterwards, I walked down to the lobby ready to start my day and decided to pass the word along to the Duty Manager as advised.
Or, I tried to pass the word along.
When I got to the counter and asked to speak to the manager, the young lady pointed out a woman to her right on the phone. I decided to wait for a moment and, while standing there, the valet employee for the hotel was also trying to talk to her about someone out front waiting for their car. The employee mentioned the make of the car and the last name Perez and I interjected, “are you talking about Marc Perez?”
The employee said yes and asked if I knew him. ”Yes, we’re both staying here while working together.” The valet pointed out that Marc (and Ann Marie) were sitting out front.
Since the manager was STILL on the phone, I walked out to say good morning and discuss our day since we were all heading to the same place. Marc looked annoyed and explained that they had waiting there for a while for the valet to get their car and (as a result) they were starting to run late for errands that needed running before our mutual noon meeting. At that point, I saw that hotel staff as a lost cause and opted to just leave without waiting for the manager to get off the phone.
Saturday was ANOTHER crazy busy day and I rolled back in the Crowne Plaza Anaheim’s hotel about 11:30 PM. This time there was a valet there and he took my keys. I walked upstairs to chat with Marc for an hour then went to squeeze in a couple of hours of sleep before having to get up and drive to the airport.
During the day, I had received a message via Twitter from the Intercontinental Hotels Group:
Hotel Mngr. Brenda will be in contact with you today to discuss the situation. Sorry for the inconvenience. ^bj
When I got to my room, I saw the light flashing on the telephone there. My assumption was that, since I never got a phone call on my cell, I must have a message from “Brenda.” I picked up the phone to retrieve the messages and pressed the red button (as instructed by the words printed next to the flashing light.) Nothing. I tried messing around with it for a few minutes. Still nothing.
I went over to the other phone in my room. It was a simple model, but still had a flashing light on it. I looked it over and found no button for retrieving the messages.
I was dumbfounded.
Thus, I hopped in the elevator and headed down to the lobby to ask for help. The person working the registration desk? That’s right. The same guy in glasses from the night before. I explained that the phone in my room wasn’t working and that I had a message light. My hopes were that 1.) he have someone come fix the phone or 2.) he just retrieve the message.
Neither of these were the case.
“Um,” he said profoundly. ”I think you can check the voicemail by dialing 5656 on the phone.”
Close enough. I went upstairs to my room and tried this with the smaller handset. It told me I had no messages.
The light kept flashing.
I tried to dial it on the larger phone on the hotel room’s desk. It didn’t work because it didn’t use touch tone dialing. The phone operated on the old click system used to electronically replicate a rotary phone.
NOTE: Many of my younger readers will have no idea what I’m talking about here. That fact alone questions WHY this technology is set up in an allegedly modern hotel.
I gave up. I couldn’t get the messages. It was frustrating as hell.
The next morning (this morning) I was up an moving at 5:00 AM and down in the lobby ready to hit the road by 5:30 AM. I walked out front and looked for the valet who was NOWHERE to be found.
I wandered back into the lobby and walked up to the registration desk. A hotel employee came out from a back room and greeted me. I asked him where the valet was and he informed me that the valet wasn’t available. I explained that I needed my car that was parked in valet and the employee told me I could just go get it since the valet parking lot was “right there.” He grabbed my keys for me and I walked out.
“Right there” it seems means duck under the construction to go get your car:
(Mine is the bright green one.)
I ducked under the yellow tape, traversed the little construction zine, got in and left… or I tried. There was a series of cones and rusty valet sign blocking the way. Thus, I had to stop, get out, and grab the dirty grimy metal object and haul it out of the way to I could leave.
My hands were disgusting afterwards making a perfect symbolic moment of how this hotel had me feel.
I am posting this and passing the tale on to Intercontinental Hotels Group because (I would hope) this isn’t the standard for their hotels. Or maybe it is. Either way, it would take some sort of small miracle for me to ever consider staying at another IHG property based on my first exposure to their brand.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to relax and continue to enjoy my Virgin flight home since I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their brand.
Tomorrow night I catch a plane and head west… really really far west. I’m flying to Tokyo, Japan for the Tokyo Anime International Fair next week. Before I go, though, I want to make sure I have all my proverbial ducks in a row.
(And all five of you on Google+)
Please check my two lists and let me know what I’m forgetting/what else I need to know. Thanks!
- I called my cell phone company. My cell will work in Japan. Texting will work in Japan. My Internet will NOT work in Japan.
- I called my credit card and bank card companies. They have been notified that the strange charges in Tokyo aren’t from some hacker who hijacked my info.
THINGS TO SEE:
- The team I’m going with plans on visiting Disney Tokyo Sea.
- I want to visit Tokyo Tower.
- I plan on visiting Shibuya Station.
- There is talk of trying to find time to make it over to Mount Fuji. This one is a “maybe” based on scheduling.
- Word has it that I may be visiting Sanrio Puroland (aka “the Hello Kitty Theme Park.”)
Any feedback in the next twenty-four hours would be appreciated. Thanks, folks!
For our fourth anniversary trip, Shannon and I took our first ever cruise. Since Shannon grew up in Georgia (and we weren’t sure about her ‘sea legs’) we opted to start with a simple three night/two day excursion to the Bahamas. We kicked off the trip but getting a hotel down on Miami Beach and spending some time around South Beach and Lincoln Road.
The Four Points by Sheraton on Miami Beach
This bit of our trip would be funny if it wasn’t so sad due to previous events leading up to it. You see, we chose to stay at the Four Points by Sheraton because I had a fairly decent amount of Starwoods points on my account. Enough, in fact, for a free stay at a beach resort. It’s the source of the points (and the subsequent effect) that speaks so poorly about the Starwoods brand.
- I was booked to stay at a Westin in Indianapolis back in August for Gen Con. When I got to the hotel, they had messed up and overbooked. The hotel paid to drive me (and my team from Wasabi Anime) across town, 30 minutes away, to stay a Sheraton. You can read about it here: http://www.tomcroom.com/?p=7783
- To make amends for the mistake, Starwoods had me open an account with them and put in enough points for two free nights at a mid-range hotel.
- When Shannon and I stayed at the Four Points in Miami Beach, there were two parties going on outside our window. Loud parties. Loud parties that blasted music until after 1:00 AM. Not ‘room parties’ – actual booked at the resort style parties with live DJs and whatnot. Here’s me tweeting about it: http://twitter.com/#!/TomCroom/status/134874330726281216
- The @StarwoodBuzz Twitter account saw my tweet and called the hotel. The hotel’s front desk called me the next morning. They apologized for the noise. Guess how they offered to make up for it… that’s right. They added more points to my Starwoods account.
South Beach, Miami, Florida
The next morning, we walked around South Beach and did some window shopping. I made sure to kiss my wife at 11/11/11 at 11:11 AM because it seemed like the thing to do while at the Art Deco Welcome Center. We bought a couple of things here and there and then stopped for breakfast at the Puerta Sagua Restaurant. The place is a retro style diner that serves Cuban food. Sitting on the stool at the counter, the restaurant emits an awesome classic touristy Florida vibe. Check out the place mats:
This place just SCREAMED classic cool. Seriously. When was that last time you walked into a diner that still sold cigarettes behind the counter by the food? (Photo here.) The meal was great and it was here, at this diner, that I discovered an amazing food fusion I had never heard of:
A plantain omelet.
FOOD HEAVEN. Unfortunately, I only got to eat half of it since Shannon also discovered how great it was but failed to order one for herself. The meal hit the spot (and it was served with fresh squeezed orange juice made in front of us!) so we continued walking up and down the strip for a couple more hours.
I love South Beach. The architecture coupled with the air and sunshine give the place a unique feeling. There’s a reason I live close enough to visit it regularly. Living there, though, I’m sure that the charm would eventually wear off. South Beach is my Santa Claus and I never want to lose the magic of believing.
After touring the town for a bit, we headed over to the Port of Miami and got on a really big boat…
To be continued.
I posted this on G+ this morning, but it bears repeating here:
Facebook changed again and it sucks! Google+ is boring and it sucks! The old Twitter is better than the new one which sucks! I should STOP PAYING for all of these services because I am obviously not getting my money’s worth!
Welcome to #Gencon, now get the hell out of your @StarwoodBuzz hotel! (Thus begins my trip to Indiana)2
See that picture of me? That was taken from my Toshiba netbook on an Airtran flight right before I started watching Evangelion 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone. In that photo I am about to make use of my awesome new Sony noise eliminating headphones to eliminate the noise of the children on the plane returning home from Disney.
I was in a happy place in the photo.
That was almost five hours ago. The “happy” is all gone now.
The flight landed on time in Indianapolis. Tracy, Lyn and I caught a cab for the thirty minute drive to our hotel downtown: The Westin Indianapolis Hotel. We got there around 11:30 PM. All three of us were ready to get some sleep so we would be ready to start our Wasabi Anime events scheduled at Gen Con 2011. Keep in mind that all of our events take place in the Westin.
(This is where the happy starts to go away.)
I’m tired and I really want to get in a couple of hours of sleep, so I am going to slack off at this point and use on the laziest of writing tools known to bloggers – the bullet point list of events:
- We have had a reservation at the Westin Indianapolis confirmed for some weeks now.
- The manager at registration informed me that they had oversold the hotel and that there was no room for myself and my team.
- The offered to put us at a Sheraton for the night… 15 miles away.
- Since we obviously have no options, we accepted. The manager said the cab would be paid for and the Sheraton would take care of us.
- Once we arrived about thirty minutes later, the cab had no idea what I was talking about and insisted I pay. I called the hotel and had them speak to him to clear it up.
- The Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites informed me that they do not have any rooms with two double beds (which we were supposed to have at the Westin) and that they could get me “a roll away or a pull out couch.” I explained that this wasn’t acceptable.
- I called the Westin back AGAIN and (after the two managers talked) we have been comped two rooms so the ladies and I have our own spaces.
- Tomorrow, I have to get up, packed and be in the lobby at 8:15 AM to make it back to the Westin to set up for events by 9:00 AM.