8 episodes

Gary Gripes is not for whiners or complainers. Actually, whining and complaining are among my most annoying gripes. If you have a gripe, please just Stand Up, Speak Up, Shut Up and Sit Down.

Don’t whine and dilly dally. Just say what’s got your shorts in a twist and stop. Even better, say what you have to say and then be brief and clear about what you think should change and how. Whether I agree or not, I will get it, I understand your gripe.

Gary Gripes is my place to gripe and yours too, if you want to Stand Up, Speak Up, Shut Up and Sit down. Just send your gripe to Gary@GaryGripes.com. If I don’t think it is way too outrageous, I will copy and paste it into a post on GaryGripes.com.

Thanks for scanning the pitch. I hope you stick around for my version of the gripe game.

Gary Gripes Gary Crow

    • Society & Culture

Gary Gripes is not for whiners or complainers. Actually, whining and complaining are among my most annoying gripes. If you have a gripe, please just Stand Up, Speak Up, Shut Up and Sit Down.

Don’t whine and dilly dally. Just say what’s got your shorts in a twist and stop. Even better, say what you have to say and then be brief and clear about what you think should change and how. Whether I agree or not, I will get it, I understand your gripe.

Gary Gripes is my place to gripe and yours too, if you want to Stand Up, Speak Up, Shut Up and Sit down. Just send your gripe to Gary@GaryGripes.com. If I don’t think it is way too outrageous, I will copy and paste it into a post on GaryGripes.com.

Thanks for scanning the pitch. I hope you stick around for my version of the gripe game.

    Down With Inflation … No Buying on Tuesday

    Down With Inflation … No Buying on Tuesday

    I heard that inflation comes in two flavors: Pull and Push. I may have them reversed but Pull is when there are supply shortages and push is when we buy more than supply can handle. Either way, inflation is when things that cost too much cost even more.

    So, what to do? Since I can’t do anything about the supply side, I’m thinking that we should all agree to just not buy anything on Tuesday unless we really can’t avoid it. I figure that Tuesday would be the easiest day to stop buying, but if you think another day would work better, toss in your suggestion. I suppose we could each pick our day, but I think it will work better if we all agree on the same day. Let’s give Tuesday a try.

    We’ve all been told that a little sacrifice is a good thing and No Buying on Tuesday qualifies as a little sacrifice. What do you think? Are you ready to give No Buying on Tuesday a try?

    I know it will be pretty easy to fall off the wagon but hang on, together we can do it. Thanks for being a No Buying on Tuesday team member.

    • 9 min
    Getting Back in Shape Sucks

    Getting Back in Shape Sucks

    When I hear someone mention getting back in shape, only one picture immediately comes to mind for me. That is of some middle age fellow jogging along huffing and puffing, looking totally forlorn and close to collapse. He is like the little engine who could but can’t anymore.


    Well, that is what used to come to mind. But what’s coming to mind these days is even more gripe worthy. It’s me not adding posts to this blog or episodes to this podcast. Sure, Gary is still Griping but is just too damn lazy to sit down at his keyboard and microphone and do what he knows he aught to be doing.


    There; it’s out there so here’s the deal.


    I was going along, keeping a pretty good pace posting and podcasting and then…. I’m not quite sure what happened. A situation came up that was using a lot of my time and focus and seemed more important than posting and podcasting. Please don’t be offended, but it seemed more important than talking with you. I’m feeling ashamed of myself but that’s the truth of it.



    Were that all there was to it, I would apologize and you would likely say, “No problem,” and all would be well. But that definitely isn’t all there was to it.


    That situation I mentioned only lasted for a couple of days but I kept obsessing about it for days on end. I would know that I should be posting and podcasting but just kept obsessing. And even when the obsessing started ramping down, I wasn’t posting or podcasting. Now what’s the deal with that?


    I think it may be the same thing as with brushing my guide dog. Every morning I feed him and let him out to do whatever he does out there. When he comes back inside, I immediately brush him. I brush him whether I feel like it or not and whether he wants brushed or not. I just do it every morning. Sure, I know that it won’t be a problem if I skip a brushing now and then, but I don’t. What’s with that?


    I think that if I skip a day brushing him, it will become easier to skip brushing tomorrow and so on. If I relax my routine even one day, I suspect I might eventually just quit brushing him at all. That is unlikely but I fear it might be true.


    Going without posting or podcasting, going without talking with you runs a similar risk. I might just stop showing up and that would be sad for me. I hope it would be sad for you too, but nonetheless, I would be missing out on one of the best parts of my week.


    So what’s happening? I’m nothing like an expert or anything on things like that but think it’s one of those slippery slope things. There are a few things that I think are important and really want to do. They have different requirements but the main thing is that they take time and require an increased level of physical, mental and/or emotional energy and attention. For that I need to be in shape and need to stay in shape. But there is a catch. It seems like there is always a catch with anything I really want to routinely do.


    To stay in physical shape, I need to exercise regularly and routinely. If I don’t it’s nearly guaranteed that I’ll be off my game when it’s time to do what I really want to do. If my game is more mental than physical, I still need to exercise. But here it is usually called practice. If my game is more emotional such as art or music or perhaps some type of counseling or support, I still need to be in shape and stay in shape. Just as when I drop off with physical activity, if I drop off with mental or emotional activity related to my game, I fairly quickly am less able to do what I value doing.


    This is the real catch. Most anything that I want to do well requires that I stay in shape, almost without exception. If I don’t do what I need to do to stay in shape, then the likelihood of doing what I do well is somewhere between low and laughable.


    • 4 min
    Does Anyone Follow Through?

    Does Anyone Follow Through?

    Over only the past three days, my gripe factor has risen to what is probably an intolerable level. I am going to have to take it out on someone. It goes like this.


    Driveway Seal: Last week, I talked with an apparently helpful rep at a driveway seal company who told me that they would be out to seal my driveway this week. She would call on Monday to confirm which day they would be here. No call on Monday.


    She did call on Tuesday to assure me that they would be here the next day early in the morning. They did not show.


    I figure I would have griped about that but waited were it not for the other two gripes that were already festering.


    Attorney No Call: On the very same Monday that the driveway seal lady was to call and didn’t, I talked with an attorney about an estate issue to see if he wanted to help me transfer some property. We talked a while and he assured me that he would send me a representation agreement that afternoon by e-mail. It’s two days later and no agreement by e-mail or otherwise. I am starting to think that no one actually does what he or she says will be done.


    Ugly Yard: A little while ago, I walked out my front sidewalk for the first time in a while. I have a lawn company that is supposed to keep my yard looking nice, grass, trees, flowers, bushes and such. I could not walk out the sidewalk without pushing back the bushes growing across the sidewalk and on my way back in, I tripped over a large clump of grass extending out over the sidewalk. I can’t see but assume that the rest of my yard is in an equally unacceptable condition.


    Add this to my third robot vacuum cleaner dyeing and my gripe factor is moving off the scale.


    Here’s my question. Does anyone do what they say they will do, when they say they will do it? OK, many do but way too many don’t. Just how tolerant should we continue to be? Should we give everyone three strikes before we move on?


    Here’s my plan, keeping in mind that my gripe factor is quite high at the moment. I think I will find another attorney, another driveway seal company and a new lawn company. And as for that robot vacuum, it might be easier to just vacuum the old fashioned way.


    Here’s the glitch. I could easily end up with a different attorney, a different driveway seal company and a different lawn company who are as unreliable as the first three or maybe even more unreliable. I guess I will wait at least until next Monday to see if any of the three give any sign of following through with what they said they will do.


    Getting my gripe on has its up side. It helps make sure that I don’t just roll over when people disappoint or tell me that they are going to do things that they have no intention of doing when they say they will do it. It has its down side as well. Having my gripe on can also easily make me make the worst of two bad choices. I can make a new choice that is often as bad or worse than my first choice.


    I’m thinking about this as a new policy. When dealing with businesses, I will generally give them a week beyond when they said I could expect a call or follow up. If they still don’t call or follow up, I will move on to another business that can do what I need done. If I can’t move on for whatever reason, I will escalate my gripe to someone higher who might actually help. If that is not an option, I will just have to accept the fact that I am royally screwed.


    • 3 min
    Samsung Soundbar Not As Advertised

    Samsung Soundbar Not As Advertised

    About three months ago, I got a new Samsung soundbar for my deck. My only goal was to have great music when relaxing outside. And great music I got. The sound was awesome. – Definitely nothing to gripe about.

    But wait! The ad clearly said that my new soundbar would work with Alexa. I thought that meant that I could tell any of my Echo devices to play music on the deck and music I would get. And music I got for about two weeks, and then no more. Alexa would tell me that music was playing on the deck but it wasn’t true.

    OK, this was probably just a small glitch that would be easily corrected. Still not much to gripe about. I called the Smart Things app support line and politely explained that my soundbar had played on wi-fi for two weeks but quit playing. The equally polite support person assured me that he would help me fix the problem.

    Three or four support calls later, still another polite support person told me that she would be happy to help just as soon as Amazon support checked to make sure that the problem wasn’t on their end. — It’s starting to become gripe worthy.

    As you might expect, the Amazon support person was at least as polite as the Samsung folks and just as eager to help. I was assured that they would move my issue up to senior support and I would get a response in a day or two. You likely guessed correctly: No response in a day or two. — The gripe quotient is increasing.

    At this point, I have received nearly two months of support and had the pleasure to talk by phone to nearly a dozen very polite support folks. They all continued to assure me that they would help me get my soundbar connected by wi-fi to Alexa and my music would soon be playing.

    Let me note that on virtually every call, I mentioned that the soundbar had played nicely for two weeks and that it still played nicely if connected by Bluetooth to my iPhone. Although there was a noticeable reduction in enthusiasm and confidence, the support folks politely stuck to the notion that my soundbar would soon be working just fine over wi-fi with Alexa and my music would be just a request to Alexa away. – I finally told the last support person I talked with that they win. My patience was down to zero.

    The gripe factor had gotten way to high for me to continue. I was pretty sure that I was too far over the top to continue being polite with people who were not resolving my problem. I had concluded that I was a victim of false and misleading advertisement.

    Even so, I kept obsessing about my soundbar. There had to be a way to make it work. And then one afternoon, I discovered that an Echo Dot has an unexpected feature. I can play it through its internal speaker but also can send its output to an external speaker by Bluetooth. Aha, I could send its output to my soundbar. If I did that, I could tell Alexa on that Echo Dot, or on any other Echo device on my wi-fi network, to play music through that echo and the music would play through my soundbar, on my deck. Even better, I could put that Echo Dot in a virtual room called “Deck” and music would play on my deck simply by telling any Echo device in my house to play music on the deck.

    It gets better. I can also use the Amazon Alexa app on my phone as a remote control for the music on my soundbar while I am relaxing on the deck swing. The soundbar now plays music from any source that Alexa supports including Apple, Amazon, Pandora, Spotify and even Tunein radio. Now just how cool is that? Way cool, even if I do say so myself.

    I must confess. I had totally gotten my gripe on, to the point where I either through in the towel or risked behaviour that even I would disapprove. The extra Echo Dot I had to buy not withstanding, I did get a perfect solution to a problem that I should not have had. I think the ad should have said that the soundbar will probably work with Alexa over wi-fi for a couple of weeks and then you are screwed.

    • 4 min
    Grand Opening

    Grand Opening

    This is the Grand Opening of Gary Gripes. That would likely make you think that this is the first episode, but you would be wrong. I was listening to a radio commercial for a new car dealer that opened for business nearly three months ago, but was loudly told that its Grand Opening was this Saturday. Evidently there are openings and then there are Grand Openings. — Go figure.

    As best I can tell from the radio, the main thing about a Grand Opening and a regular opening involves balloons and ribbons, free hot dogs and drinks of an undefined variety, at least one clown, and a live country band. Oh yes, I nearly forgot: there are also once in a lifetime Grand Opening deals on cars and pickup trucks.

    That last attraction makes me wonder if not picking up on one of those once in a lifetime deals this Saturday means that the car or pickup truck purchased just after the regular opening three months ago was way overpriced. Now there is something to gripe about: finding out three months later that your shiny new pickup was thousands of dollars too much. We know that because the radio ad assures us that we will save thousands of dollars if we buy a new car or pickup this Saturday. That can only be as compared to what we would have paid three months ago.

    Finding out that buying a car or truck a month ago or anytime after this Saturday was or will be a really bad deal, a thousands of dollars too much deal, I also learned that much of what I heard or thought I heard in the radio ad may not be true or at least I may not be as sure as I thought I was. After I thought the ad was over, a quiet monotone voice said something about something I think was related to the add I just heard. It was too quiet to catch my attention and way too fast for me or likely anyone else to understand. My speculation is that I was just told that the deal I thought I heard is not actually nearly as good as I thought it was. Gripe worthy? I think so. Remember that those intelligible add-ons are called disclaimers. Even the new dealer won’t claim what we think it said in the ad.

    That gets me around to Gary Gripes’ Grand Opening. No balloons. No ribbons. No clown. And not even one once in a lifetime deal. On the positive side, there is no need for a disclaimer. What you think you get is what you get. Now just how refreshing is that?

    I know, you think I forgot the country band. I sure didn’t. All you need to do is open your mind and imagination for a few minutes. The band is here for you. OK, it’s almost here for you.

    If you have a gripe to share, please email it to Gary@GaryGripes.com. I’m sure that our readers and podcast listeners will value knowing that they aren’t the only ones who get their gripe on now and then.

    Please hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss any future episodes of Gary Gripes.

    Share the blog and podcast with someone else. You likely know a few folks who need to get their gripe on from time to time.

    I hope you are OK with how I just slipped in those three little promotions. After all, it is Gary Gripes’ Grand Opening.

    Now for the country band.

    • 6 min
    Reasons Are Not Excuses

    Reasons Are Not Excuses

    A little complaining and a small dose of whining is fine now and then, but both whining and complaining can quickly turn into excuses for not sucking it up and taking care of business. Probably because I can’t see, one example of whining and complaining that truly annoys me is “I’m blind so I can’t and no one should expect me to.” I suspect the root of this for me is not having much patience for anyone who keeps finding excuses for not taking care of business. (Feel free to substitute any condition or issue that someone uses as an excuse for not digging in and doing whatever he or she needs to do to succeed.)

    This blind thing is a lot of things but not all that complicated. First, it’s a condition that ranges from mild to severe, just like most conditions. Wherever we are on that continuum, it’s likely to get worse, at least until our condition is severe. That be as it may, there is not much we can do about it other than to whine. – Never under estimate the real value in whining. Our condition won’t change but whining can help us cope.

    Second, blind and blindness are also variables. The condition may be static or getting worse, but how we experience them is far from static. For example, I am on average about 5% blind. Sometimes I am nearly 0% blind and once in a while virtually 100% blind. So, what accounts for the variability? Not the condition for sure. It is what it is and isn’t changing since the lights are permanently off for me.

    Here’s the deal. When I am in my house, sitting in my chair, listening to my music on my sound system, I am 0% blind. The condition has no effect and represents no limitation.

    Alternatively, a while back, I needed to get my State ID renewed. I got an Uber and headed off to the ID updater. The Uber arrived and I got out, already talking with an Aira agent to help me by video call with getting inside and with finding the ID updater. Still maybe only 20% blind.

    But, and there are those buts. Just as soon as I walked inside and had taken less than a dozen steps, the cell signal dropped. At that moment, I was nearly 100% blind. I didn’t even know how to get back outside. I did manage to recover from that very dark place with the help of a passer-by, but for a few minutes, it was pretty grim.

    I could tell you a thousand stories about “Just how blind am I right now,” but I suspect you get the point. Yes, blind is a condition, but more importantly, it’s a variable. What matters most is how blind I am right now. FYI, I am sitting at my desk, typing on my computer using my copy of JAWS and am about 2% blind right now.

    Here’s the challenge. Whether blind since birth or new to blindness, and whether the condition is mild or severe, the real issue is not the condition. Rather, the real issue is how effectively we manage blind as a variable.

    I of course don’t know what your goals and expectations for you may be but do know that my goal is to do whatever I want to do, when and where I want to do it. My expectation for me is that I will develop and maintain the skills and determination needed to reach my goal. As part of that commitment to me, I will find the technology, services, resources, strategies, and advice that can increase my success. – Yes, it would often be much easier and safer to be content staying in my house, sitting in my chair, listening to my music on my sound system, but that simply doesn’t cut it for me, and I sincerely hope it does not cut it for you.

    • 4 min

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