Admirals Log


The “Admiral’s Log”

Everyone needs a place to spout their opinion, for our favorite Admiral, this is the place to get things off the chest (as it were). Don’t look for a lot of content here, rather, a place where, when something impacts, interests or simply angers the old guy, he has a place to bitch about it.

By way of introduction, there are three (3) faces of the Admiral to be aware of prior to reading the content included on this page. (See Below)

Contemplative Scott Amused Scott Pissed Off Scott


Assume any content listed under the “Pissed Off” heading will likely include
many colorful and adult metaphors. (Scott is after all, well, pissed off)

Also …

Feel like you want to comment on one of Scott’s observations or rants, please do so. Simply e-mail Scott and send your thoughts.

You’ll find content added to this page by date … So, here we go …



It’s been a while since I’ve vented in these pages, and while my rants have been effective (having been read by a bunch of people) If you have half a brain you don’t want to be that guy that’s always complaining about something.

I’m so angry this afternoon as I write this that (honestly) I’m not quite sure where to start …

It’s Friday, and thank God, the week is over before something else goes wrong !

I am so tired of paying premium prices for mediocre goods and services that I’m about to have a freakin nervous breakdown. Nobody gives a rip about service anymore.

If something’s wrong you usually just get a ‘hollow’ I’m sorry and get moved out of the way for the next guy that’s about to get screwed.

Here are some examples …

Laurie and I have been asked to host/produce a balloon rally in a few weeks in another town. For three months, we’ve been reaching out to a public agency in an attempt to do our due diligence with this agency to absolutely no avail.

They don’t return phone calls; they don’t acknowledge e-mails and don’t bother to show up at scheduled meetings … its piss poor service from a public agency.

Yesterday we reached out to them (again), this time to address a couple of simple logistic issues … Well let me tell you boys and girls “no good deed goes unpunished” because they didn’t want to talk about what we called about, this public servant read me the riot act about not having all our paperwork into the agency that would secure our launch venue for the up and coming balloon event … never mind the fact that we had been reaching out to them for nearly three months without result !  Never mind that we had been wasting our most valuable asset, “time’ trying to reach out and connect.

Today I was told a balloon we expected to have delivered a couple weeks ago is delayed yet again. Now not only will we miss a couple paid events (that’s what we do around here, fly balloons for money) but its just one more shot across our bow.

Because our manufacturer didn’t climb on someone’s ass a couple weeks ago and raise hell about a batch of bad fabric, the manufacturers supplier figures he can get away with not doing his job (as a vendor) to our manufacturer.  It worked, cause he did get away with it … I have a delayed balloon and the vendor apparently feels no remorse to our manufacturer. Listen I feel bad for our guys that try really hard … but when you regularly accept mediocrity, you can’t say much when it happens regardless of who takes it in the backside as a result.

Instead of being nice, our guys should have been all over these guys when they screwed up the first batch of fabric. Clearly, they weren’t and because they accepted mediocre service (at premium prices) from their supplier, another week was lost and now I miss a couple dates with my new balloon.

So here’s the downside effect on us, the balloon is (or at least was) going to be presented as a ‘feature’ balloon at an upcoming event … We’ve spent a couple three thousand on pins, t-shirts jackets, caps, etc to be given away as part of this great ‘reveal’ of the new balloon …

Don’t need any of that stuff now. Balloons not going to be here. Bend over Spencer, but before you do will you please refund our deposits for the appearance. Oh, and just go ahead and eat the promotional items you bought …

Nobody gives a shit about what happens to the old “end user” in this case me and while I get the apology (and feel like they mean it) it doesn’t help my bottom line or do anything for the promises I made when my guy made his commitment in the first place. (and) Lets not forget that I’m the one that has to face the customer and taking the hit from both ends.

It’s OK though, because everyone is sorry !

While its true that over the years we’ll use the swag what the people we work with fail to understand is that we sure wouldn’t have bought that stuff (spent the money) if we didn’t think we needed to.

Crap does flow down hill and nobody bothers with caring about the impact on the end customer when things don’t happen as planned.

Today I went to pick up some new jackets (that we had to pre pay to have built) I pick them up and discover that our “S” wing design is over the right pocket and the team logo is over the left. Exactly opposite of what we ordered and what they’re supposed to be.

Oh, I’m sorry Mr. Spencer … Like a complete dumb ass I took them home, then started to write this blog and thought screw it. I paid a premium for the coats, in fact, I paid in advance because the new owner of our local embroidery shop took it in the backside from some idiots that ordered clothing that they never picked up. Who the hell does that ?
Is it not possible for anyone to get the simple stuff right anymore ?

What kind of society are we living in for the love of God ? Traffic was heavy the other night as I was going past the mall and there was a young woman in the middle lane waiting to merge so I pulled alongside her, stopped to wave her in front of me and what does she do … Flip me the bird ! (again) What the hell ???

Boise has the worst (rudest) drivers on the planet … I would rather drive at 5:00pm in downtown Los Angeles than negotiate the streets of Boise at most any time. What a bunch of self absorbed ass holes !

Bill Gates needs MORE fucking money … lets rearrange the buttons and tout it as the greatest operating system ever … as we do it, we can force the retirement of older programs despite the fact that they work just fine so we end up with perfectly good computers that aren’t able to run new software so we have to toss them and buy new. In any other business that’s called extortion and yet, we put up with it and that’s because we’ve become a nation of sheep that step into line and follow (and accept) mediocrity in our day to day lives.

I’m done with mediocrity … if you want to deal with me, take my money and provide me with inferior product or service than get ready to lose my business. I’m tired of dicking around with people that don’t give a shit about my needs or the effect of their sloppy work on my bottom line.

We need to all stop putting up with and accepting sub standard as normal or appropriate.

I love and am a big fan and user of social media. We have several significant platforms but there is just one last thing … if you don’t have a telephone for me to call you on you can kiss my ass and my business good-bye because I deal with humans, not computers in my day to day dealings.



Scott Amused Dumbfounded is more like it !!!

Greetings and happy hot, hot, hot summer to all of you. As Laurie and I have traveled around this past winter and spring I am absolutely dumbfounded at the number of people that have approached me to say that they follow (and apparently read) this page.

It started out as an opportunity to vent a little hot air and I honestly didn’t expect anyone to follow my usual twisted rants. I’ve got an awful lot of “that happened to me too” and “they are bastards, aren’t they”. Makes me laugh.

I thought you might like to know how a couple of these have been resolved …

The “Staples” saga is over now. It got stranger every step of the way until even the idiots at Microsoft were telling me to simply take it back to the store I bought it from (after we shipped it directly to them as Staples had told us to do). It’s a bad system, it won’t ever get better until we (all of us) stand up and demand to be treated like proper customers.

Don’t threaten to take your business elsewhere, do it.

I had several major office purchases after this happened (new monitors, storage devises and the like) and every time I bought something I called my local Staples and told them about it so they would be reminded that they had at least one lunatic customer that did what he said he was going to do. Not shop there any more.

In the end, they refunded my money at the store but I lost the twenty or so dollars that I spent sending the software to Microsoft. The ordeal lasted about nine months.

It’s a shame they didn’t just take care of me in the first place. In the end, they were aware of the web page and I received a call from what they said was the “Presidents Customer Service” line.  While I don’t know about that, at least it’s over now.

Check this out

Last week I had a broken arm rest on my good desk chair that I bought several years ago from Office Depot. I took it off and headed to the store hoping that they could order the part for me but was prepared to buy a new chair if I needed to.

The store manager took my arm rest, disappeared from sight for a few minutes and returned with a new arm rest !  No Shit !!!

They opened another chair and gave me a new arm rest. That, boys and girls, is service that builds customer loyalty.

As for the “Photographer and the Coke Image”. I got an e-mail shortly after the rant posted and he offered me the image. I said thanks anyway …

At this year's balloon classic we intend to take ownership of the images of our hot air balloons and insure that images from our event are never used for anyone’s profit ever again … the following signs will be posted on our launch site as well as our web sites from now on …

LTAA Photographers' Notice

I’ve left both stories (find them below) if you missed reading them the first time around. As, when and if I get a free moment or two, I’ll add to these pages. I’ve got plenty of stories to share and am anxious to do so.

I appreciate your interest and assume it makes you feel better, as it does I, to know that you’re not the only one having the occasional goofy day.

Scott Spencer Sig



Contemplative ScottPissed Off Scott

Photographers, an
Interesting Bunch

This month Scott is contemplative and
only slightly pissed off and all at the same time


So, we’re hanging out on the boat last winter in Las Vegas and Laurie is driving to or from the marina to someplace in one of the Lighter Than Air America trucks (with hot air balloons plastered all over it) and a woman who sees the rig, ends up making contact with her through the web site. She wants to come and shoot balloons. Not the first time we’ve heard that so of course, I’m skeptical.

Turns out this woman and her two friends are professionals and are interested in coming to shoot the Balloon Classic. We talk, bla, bla, bla … work out an arrangement and up from the desert they come to the Spirit of Boise-Balloon Classic. How’d it go you ask ?

Meeting these guys has to be one of the ten best things to ever happen to our balloon rally. Laurie and I love them; they fit right in and have already been adopted into the ballooning family, plus, as photographers, they each seem to have an incredible eye for “the shot” and best of all (and most endearing to me) they seem to place their highest priority on simply capturing the moment and then sharing it.

I couldn’t be happier they found us !

I’d like to think that I didn’t just fall off the spud truck when it comes to making a picture. At last count, I have 262,750 images of my own on file. Good, bad or fuzzy I have saved every image I’ve ever made from my faithful Nikon cameras. I’ve had people offer me money on more than one occasion for images. That’s not what I do and I’m usually so flattered that someone likes something I’ve shot, I can’t get it into his or her hands quick enough.

Did I mention I don’t shoot hot air balloons ?

I get that professional photographers can’t do that, their images are the roof over their head and food on their table, but ...

Moving from contemplative to pissed off now …

So this dude shoots an image of me in one of the Coke balloons descending back towards Ann Morrison Park in front of Boise’s iconic train depot during Balloon Classic. He sends a copy of the image, unsolicited, to one of the attending pilots who forwards it to me.

It’s an OK shot, nothing fantastic or something I’d send to Atlanta HQ, but it’s interesting because it’s such a unique point of view, its looking south and really drew the mountains (about sixty miles south of Boise) right in, as if they were immediately in the image background. It’s a lucky shot, train depot, logo’s turned to camera and the mountains … the stars are lined up perfectly.

The shot quality is low and the photographer has plastered his name and “copyright” 2011 on the image, OK, fair enough. I’m compelled and attempt to contact this guy and ask if I can put the image on the Coca-Cola Balloon Team web site.

I get a reply from him and he tells me how hard the shot was to get, the balloons went the wrong way and it’s only by the grace of God that (this putz) he has ended up with the shot at all. Seriously ?  OK well thanks for the note Mr. Adams. (joke,  you know, the famous photographer Ansel Adams …anyway …)

He won’t give me the image to put on the Coke site but would be more than happy to sell me the image, then I can use it on the site. I thank him for writing, explain that Coke forgot to put “pictures” in my budget and that’s the end of that.

So then I’m thinking about it and the longer I think about it the madder I start to get.

He is able to be out selling these images because I spent the time (and Peak's Money) to produce this event for the community. I ask to put him on my Coke site because I figure he’d like some play for the image (I did offer photo credit) and the Coke pages are busy ones with collectors from all over the world visiting regularly, but no, not good enough for this dude.

Perhaps I’m missing the point but this guy wouldn’t have the opportunity to take the pictures and “try” to sell them if I didn’t have the event. I’m being too shallow you say … well how about this then :

There was a photographer for the Boise River Festival that in fifteen freakin years never gave me a fucking picture. He was the staff photographer for God sake. I was always certain to get him up in a balloon at each years Balloon Rally, gave him access to good, exclusive sites for the best point of view opportunities and he still wouldn’t give me a fucking picture. Drove me crazy, it was like a slow boil all year long, thankless bastard.

Well, Steve utilized this guy for the Millennium Countdown when I put sixty balloons down Capital Boulevard in Boise and counted down to 2000 with each balloon glowing for a few seconds while we ushered in the New Year.

I put this guy in one of my three helicopters and he was the only still photographer in the world with that point of view. Well, its eleven years later and I’m still pissed off about it.

You guessed it, Wouldn’t give me a picture so I ended up buying three images from him for $150.00 each because the son of a bitch was so damn cheap with me. Yet, I can’t get out of my mind that had it not been for me, he wouldn’t have had anything to sell.

I guess I’m the idiot, after all, I did break down and buy the pictures.

I spoke to my lawyer about it a few hours ago … do you know that a case could be made that I could actually own every image captured at Balloon Classic by each and every human that made a picture ???

I’d have to advertise the fact of course and put signage at entrances to the park but you know what, I might just do that next year.

Man if those bastards had just said thanks and offered me an image …

Scott Spencer Signature


Pissed Off Scott

Staples Office in Boise says that
 Scott Spencer is a software pirate.

       (and a special thanks to Microsoft & Qwest)


Read this and you’ll likely save yourself some grief … So who would have thought that something as simple as buying some new software would turn out to be such a gigantic pain in the ass, not me.

What I’m about to share with you is proof positive that all things are connected and that one simple act to make something work better isn’t worth the grief you usually suffer as a result.

First, let me say that none of this would have happened if I had simply kept the great guys at “Fiberpipe” (here in Boise) as my internet service provider. My need for speed and wireless routers forced me to move to Qwest.

Now I believe with all my heart that Qwest is one of the worst fucking companies on this planet for customer service. They’re terrible and it’s usually because you’re talking to some son of a bitch in Manila that can’t fully understand the English language that makes trying to deal with them such a painful experience. I swear to you, our Computer Tech “Matt”, spent fully an hour on the phone Friday just trying to get the Manila human to transfer him to a human, (any human) here in the States.

Quick review, love Fiberpipe, can’t stand Qwest …

It’s been a while since I’ve bought actual software for any of the systems we have here at the house or in the office. If you own an iPhone or iPad, you know why. Buying “apps” for these devices is much easier, usually free and in fact works much better and is less complicated then traditional software is.

In fact, it’s been several months since we have fired up any of our laptop’s … our iPad’s have made them obsolete. You have no idea how wonderful it is to not have Microsoft automatically downloading to our computer’s in the middle of the night. It’s wonderful.  

Another quick review, don’t like Microsoft any better than Qwest …

I’ve been using an e-mail software called Thunderbird. Never have liked it much but Matt put it on my office machine after I switched to Qwest because they didn’t support “Eudora”, the worlds most simple and efficient e-mail software. In hindsight, that was my first warning, one that I completely ignored. Goddamn Qwest !

So my current problem started as a “mis-click”. We’ve all had them. Your fingers accidentally “click” the mouse while it’s over something you’re not looking at and, brother, you are instantly, well and truly fucked. Your screen now has something on it you’ve never seen before and you are absolutely paralyzed; you’re done working for the day. Well that’s what happened to me. I did it and have no one else (at this point) to blame for my misfortune.

So to correct the problem with my cheap (actually free) mail software, I purchased “Microsoft Outlook 2010” this past week.  Don’t forget, I’ve always been a big fan of Eudora for its simplistic approach to e-mail but when I switched to Qwest from our good friends at Fiberpipe, I learned that Qwest doesn’t “support” Eudora software.

Guess what … shock of shockers. Qwest doesn’t support “Outlook 2010” either! No shit!

Apparently, according to the “rocket scientist, English-speaking bitch” in Manila, (and I quote) “Qwest no longer has any service agreements with Microsoft because they have been sold and are now called “Century Link”. I’m sorry, I’m not sure how to write with a broken English, Asian accent, but I’ll assume you get the frustrating idea …

Quick review, Qwest doesn’t support Microsoft or Eudora software.
(Bastards !)

(Which shouldn’t be a surprise, they don’t actually have the advertised
“internet speed” either, another disappointment I’ll need to learn to live with)

So my new Outlook isn’t supported. I’ve lost two full days plus Matt’s bill while he has tried to make the software work … Get this, the Manila brain trust suggests that for another $40 per month, Qwest (hereinafter called Qworst) are happy to provide us with a static I.P. address that will work, Really, No Shit?  Isn’t that’s nice of them !

Command decision time. I instruct Matt to get Outlook off the machine and fix the Thunderbird software,  we’ve already wasted too much time (I’m trying to host Spirit of Boise in a couple weeks, its not like I’m swimming in extra time right now any way) and we’ll cut our losses and I’ll just return the software to Staples.

Oh nay nay !

You apparently don’t return software.

Did I mention that “Microsoft Outlook 2010” was $158 bucks with Idaho sales tax. (shit just gets better by the minute doesn’t it)

They don’t take software back if it’s been opened, because of piracy issues. Really ? So I said to the sales guy, “I’m not a pirate, I ‘clicked’ the wrong fucking thing on my screen and crashed the system, purchased your software (in good faith that it would work), it doesn’t, so I’m bringing it back”.

Apparently, printed on the back of my receipt, is the Staples policy for returning software. I can’t read the print WITH my reading glasses on its so small, but I guess I’m supposed to know the policy by divine insight, that “NO ONE” takes software back after its been opened.

Seriously ?

Granted, I haven’t returned anything to a store in years, but I did take for granted that if I bought something from someone that I ended up not being able to use, or that didn’t work, I would get my fucking money back … after all, Staples is a reputable store and based right here in Boise, owned by Boise Cascade.

When did such simple customer courtesy fall by the wayside ?

Two Simple Things …

I’m not a software pirate. I’m a consumer who bought a product from your store in good faith. Staples, you are the face of Microsoft and if you choose to represent and sell their products then you should make your decisions on returns on a case-by-case basis - for no other reason than the simple convenience of your customers.

You could have saved us both a great deal of time and expense if you had put a “policy” sign in, over or next to the software, so that I, an old son of a bitch that doesn’t know any better, would know that I couldn’t bring it back if it didn’t work. I guarantee you I never would have purchased it without asking a few more questions.

One last thing for Staples …

I am telling everyone I know how fucked up I think your policy is. I don’t give a shit if every company on the planet does the same thing, it’s you that I choose to do business with and you that I assumed would, in exchange for my business, treat me fairly and with a reasonable approach to our relationship.

I’m not hiding behind an anonymous forum to tell the world what you’ve done. I’m a credible, reasonable (for the most part), respected member of my community and I’m tired of being screwed by companies that claim to be giving me the finest service possible. My friends are older, responsible adults that think like I do.

You need to take your young decision-making punks and have them look at how customers were treated back in the day because what you do today doesn’t reflect how my generation does business.

Your lack of customer service and support today will cost you much more than the software return, which was $158.00, and you certainly won’t need to worry about my business any longer. I won’t be back. You’ll also enjoy knowing that I have some influence in my peer group and I intend to exercise it with regard to your stores.

While it may be a drop in your bucket, I have the pleasure of knowing that several thousand people will read this and most will absolutely agree with my position.

Sure would have been cleaner if you’d just have refunded my money.

How does this story end ?  Well, I’m not sure. I have to navigate the Microsoft website, an activity I rate just above having my balls cut off, then, after discovering where to send the software (by Fed-X or UPS) according to the site, must wait for Microsoft to process my request, one way or the other. So now I can add freight to Matt’s bill and I end up, not including lost time, hundreds of dollars in the hole …  but no worries, Staples, the company I spend hundred of dollars with every month for everything from flat screens to external hard-drives will watch my back, correct ???

What a fucking racket !

A final thought: these companies, Qwest, (QWORST) Microsoft and Staples are all contributory to a culture of poor service and should be ashamed. Doing business with any of them is done so on their terms without regard to the consumer whose business puts food on their tables each night. That said, they are not entirely to blame …

Until such time as (we) consumers have a willingness to simply say enough is enough, I’ll do without if you won’t treat me fairly, the problem will only get worse. We enjoy the computer age as much as any one, but it shouldn’t be an excuse to terminate good, personal, customer service.
I resent the suggestion that the policy is based on an assumption that “I” was or might have been pirating software. This makes me wonder;

“Who are the real pirates?”

Scott Spencer Signature