Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Rotterdam Hilton is crap

Blackout curtains behind sheers

As an official of the Federation of Gay Games I attended the Eurogames held in Rotterdam, and needed to find accommodation for my partner and me.
Not-so-fashionable styling

On lastminute.fr I found a “top secret” hotel described as a four-star hotel near the central station. The services provided and the location were interesting, and the price seemed reasonable: 405 euros for two persons for five nights. Among the services on the special “top secret” page were a fitness center, which interested my partner, and free ethernet and wifi internet, which interested me. We regretted that breakfast wasn't included, but thought it was still a good offer, even without this service, which we could always pay extra for it we desired.

Wiring worthy of 1911
For “top secret” hotels, you only learn the name of the hotel when you pay. In our case, it was the Rotterdam Hilton, which we found reassuring, thanks to the Hilton brand name.

Extra-thick flat-screen TV
We arrived at the hotel last Wednesday, and got a room with a king-size bed. At check in we learned that breakfast cost 25 euros, which meant it was out of the question for us.

Burl veneer furniture, looks good with shoulder pads
It was when we arrived in the room that things started looking bad. The decor is decidedly old fashioned, as if the place had been done up in 1980 and never been updated. The TV, for example, is a cathode ray tube model rather than a flat screen. It is quite small and placed in a corner, hard to see from the left side of the bed. The outlets for the electricity, TV, and telephone all run outside the wall, and all the wiring is very visible, and quite unsightly.

Control buttons built in to bedside table probably once did something
The rest of the decor was very worn, with dirty baseboards, damaged corners of walls, holes in walls, and chipped paint on doors. Speaking of doors, the bathroom door had a closing mechanism that was crudely installed, and a slot cut out of the bottom of the door, perhaps to improve ventilation. The closet door did not cover the minbar area, leaving the unattractive fridge exposed. There is no safe in the room.

Scuffed baseboards
The curtains have a loud pattern, and the sheers are installed in an odd way, in front of the blackout curtains. As neither of these sets of curtains are operated by a curtain pull, you need to reach back behind the sheers to open and close the blackout curtains.

Worn wallpaper
The telephone at the desk didn't work, nor did the ethernet connection. When I called the front desk to ask how to get the ethernet to work, I learned that internet was in fact not included in the price of the room. I insisted that I had seen that it as included when I purchased the room, and that I would never have chosen a hotel that did not include internet in the price of the room. After several calls back and forth, the situation remained unchanged, with the manager saying that if there was a problem, it was with lastminute.fr, and that I could only take it up with them when I got home, which of course did nothing for my current situation. Nor was I willing to pay their ridiculous fee of 22 euros a day for internet service (“including access to your email!”), a scandalous amount of money for a service that much more affordable establishments include in the price of the room.

The minibar, home of the mysterious "Dutch Assortment"
While I imagine that the internet issue may be the fault of lastminute.fr, I was surprised that no solution was proposed by the front desk. They could have, for example, offered one day of internet access during our five-day stay as a goodwill gesture. As it was, I was able to access internet at the Eurogames accreditation center,but I would of course have preferred to have access in my room.

Smallish closet, with no safe
In the bathroom, we were surprised to find that hot water came out of the cold water tap. When we reported this, a technician quickly came, and after letting the water run for 20 minutes and fiddling with various other things, managed to get the water down to lukewarm. This problem came and went throughout our stay.

Is this a snake-door for easy access to the bathroom?
As compensation for the water problem, we were offered vouchers for two free drinks from the minibar, from the “Dutch assortment”. As there was nothing on the minibar price list that indicated which items were part of the “Dutch assortment”, I called the front desk, where they were unable to tell me just what that meant, unless it might mean anything produced in the Netherlands, or to be safe, just beer and wine. They were unable to say whether this included soft drinks, juices, and water.

When we arrived, we also noted that one of the pillow cases was stained. We called the front desk to ask for it to be changed, but when we returned in the evening, we found the dirty case still in place.

The location of the hotel was good for us, but we were disappointed to learn that the nearest metro station was closed, information which was not indicated on the website of the hotel. We were also somewhat disturbed by the constant noise coming from the next street over, where the outdoor bars and nightclubs play loud music as late as 5 am. Despite being on the 6th floor, we were disturbed.

Advice Illustrated: Duh

A real week of non-stop duhs. These people!


Letter 1 is from a woman who's dating a wonderful man. She found out by chance that he was arrested for soliciting a minor for sex over the internet. She would prefer not to know this... What to do? Prudie says she has to talk to the BF about it and make a decision based on what he says and his demeanor. I say, duh.
Deserves it? No.


Video is from an adult whose parents are divorcing and are burdening her with details of how horrible the other parent is. She wants to tactfully tell them to shut up. Prudie says she doesn't need to be tactful, just to tell them to shut up. I say, duh.
Deserves it? Yes. She needed to put a stop to this day 1.


Letter 2 is from a guy who was caught looking at his GF's phone when trying to find her parents' phone number to ask for their blessing of his proposal to their daughter. She is furious about his "invasion of her privacy", despite his perfectly innocent explanation. She did accept the proposal, but remains wounded, injured, peeved and perturbed.
Before reading Prudie's answer, I say: DTMFA. Why would you want to live the rest of your life with a person who can't let go of a petty grievance? Frankly, this reaction would make me very suspicious. I don't want my BF looking at what's on my phone, but I don't have anything to hide, and if he told me why he went looking, I would let it go. And yeah, LW is a superdoof for using her phone to get the number rather than... directory assistance? Internet? Why didn't he already have the number (after four years and being ready to marry her)? And doesn't this prove that the outmoded "tradition" of asking for a woman's hand in marriage should be deep sixed? Now I will read Prudie's answer...
She basically agrees with me, without going all the way to DTMFA. She's a softy, that Prudie. In any case, this too is a "duh".
Deserves it? Yes. Asking her hand in marriage and using her phone to get the parents' number makes you a worthy target for all the crazy you're getting.

Letter 3 is from a young person who works/ed for Borders. He wants to get gift cards for his laid off coworkers but doesn't know how he can use his limited budget fairly. Before reading Prudie's answer, here's mine: You are a graduate student who had to take a part-time job, but you have money to spend on your coworkers' severance gift? You're unemployed, too, honey. It's not your job to take care of these people: they'll be getting unemployment insurance (and some will loll about enjoying living on the dole, as we all know). What kind of gift certificates were you going to get? B&N? Amazon? Save your money, you twit. Now, what does Prudence say?
Prudence says he's a twit, and that if he's really concerned about their well-being, the best thing he can do is keep in contact and make them part of his job network. So, duh.
Deserves it? Yes, if what he deserves is paying money he ought not be paying. He's a dolt.

Letter 4 is from a woman who wants to name her first child Lolita if it's a girl, and Humbert if it's a boy. Her husband thinks she's nuts. Before reading Prudie's answer, I will say that I agree with the husband. Lolita is a skunked name, like Adolf. Or even Adolph. What does the Prudester say?
Sbe graciously tells LW that she's nuts. So, duh.
Deserves it? Yes, she deserves to give birth to a child who will hate her for life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Advice Illustrated

Nearly a week behind, but here is a fresh look at these hopeless letters.

I may have minunderstood the letter...

Letter 1 is from a woman who ran over a neighbor's cat. Instead of doing the right thing, she abetted her husband's plan to hide the evidence. Now she is justifiably consumer by guilt and wants to tell all. Oh, and the cat's owner is not a nice guy. Prudie says that it's too late to come clean and she needs to keep it together. Nor should her criminal genius of a husband offer to replace the cat.
Now, my take: The whole rant about how mean, mean, mean the neighbor is seems to be about justifying your own horrible behavior. Cats running free do risk getting run over, but that doesn't change the fact that you are responsible for, at the least, telling the truth about what happened. None of the rest is of any interest, except, perhaps, for his wont to sue. So let's look at the horrid behavior of this old man:
1) He complains about every little thing: Just what does he complain about? How often? This claim is too vague to discuss.
2) He calls the police any time there is loud music in the neighborhood? He has a right to peace and quiet. If he has cause to call the police often enough for you to note it as a constant issue, you live among a bunch of very rude people. And just what is a 70yo man to do when his crude neighbors play their country music loud at all hours? Risk getting his dentures knocked down his throat? Far too often such victims end up going on a shooting spree, so calling the cops seems the prudent thing to do. Why don't you intervene to ensure a peaceful environment for all? And if the cops come each time, I'm guessing there is a legitimate cause for complaint.
3) He calls the police if there are "suspicious-looking" kids hanging out too close to his house? Yes, he should allow young hoodlums to threaten him. Why are these thugs loitering? More proof you are low-lifes in a neighborhood of low-lifes.
4) He once tried to sue a neighbor over tree branches falling into his yard? Did he sue or didn't he? Was the threat of a suit what it took for the owner of the tree to take action to protect this man's safety and property?
You are evil, you are just one of the low-lifes, and I am ashamed to read the same online magazine as you.

Maybe he's stealing from you to pay back JC Pënney's?
Video letter is from another abetter who was just fine having among her nearest and dearest friends a thief who makes it a practice of stealing from retailers. Now that he's starting to steal from LW, it's suddenly an issue. Prudence is completely deranged and ignores the whole stealing thing to focus on the niceties of whether one must wanr ones mutual friends that ones BFF is a criminal who steals from them. WTF???? Are you the cat-killer? You certainly seem to come from the same figurative trailer park. I'm not saying you have to go to the cops, but just what does it mean that you want this criminal in your life?

Trust me, she's PREGNANT!
Letter 2 is from a PREGNANT woman whose husband has a new-old BFF is a VERY BAD INFLUENCE on him. I hate all three of them, and foresee a short and nasty marriage for LW. It may be too late for an abortion, but LW should consider letting a more loving and mature couple raise her child.
Prudie says to get counseling.

Letter 3 is from a child whose father wants to have his ashes buried in with his second wife alongside the remains of LW's mother. LW is SHOCKED. Prudie says to get over it. So do I.

Letter 4 is from a guy (I'm guessing) who feels "discomfort" because his boss goes out with colleagues after work and gets drunk. This has happened THREE WHOLE TIMES. There are ESCAPADES. His boss is maybe, like an ALCOHOLIC. Prudie says to narc the boss with an anonymous letter to HQ. I say: WHAT? Just how is this LW's problem? If LW starts getting hassled for not going out drinking, then it's his problem. Until then, MYOB.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Advice Illustrated

Surely this killed the market for nude rock star photos?
Letter 1 is totally unlikely but a bit fun. It's from a woman who dated a now-famous rock star just as he was becoming famous. He dumped her (she was pregnant, he didn't know, she miscarried, but it ruined her life or something...). Now "his people" want to get their hands on some nude pics she has of him. She's tempted to seel them to a tabloid. Prudie says to consult a lawyer (less hating lately) and to try to negotiate a deal to sell the rights to "his people". I agree. And who really wants to see these nude pictures?

Only acceptable reference to "Adam's Rib"
Video letter is from a woman who acts like a Wiccan and feels oppressed by her community college professor who keeps bringing his Krazy Kristian beliefs into the class. Prudie says to talk about things in a general way with the teacher, and if not satisfied, to go to his higher ups. I say: I hate tattoos. And if you want to advertise your beliefs, you should be prepared for people to react to them. But teacher is indeed out of line. Is this a science class? Then he is teaching BS and is obviously unqualified (and maybe puts the school at risk of losing accreditation). Is this not a science class? Then why is he talking about the origin of the female of the species? Is this a religion class? Then you're kind of asking for it.

I'll have what they're having.
Letter 2 is from a guy whose wife takes a vacation alone once or twice a year. He's jealous and suspicious and pouty. Before reading Prudie's answer, here's mine: Get a grip! She goes on vacations with you, you say nothing about her neglecting you or giving your reason to suspect her of cheating at any other time. And if she is getting her cheating out of the way once a year in Miami, is that really so horrible? Prudie's only concern is that this is taking away from their common vacation time (which he doesn't complain about, so WTF?). Prudie's husband (since when do we hear what he thinks?) is sure she's cheating. My only addition after this is: go away on your own. And do what you please.

From the "there's no justice" file
Letter 3 is from someone who wants to know how to stop hating Casey Anthony. Prudie says to turn her energy from hatred to doing something positive for kids. I add: she wasn't found innocent: she was found not guilty.

Kid's got bags under its eyes. Time for some concealer.
Letter 4 is from someone whose sister keeps pestering them to vote for LW's nephew in "most beautiful baby" contests. LW has asked not to be bothered about these contests, of which they disapprove, but the emails and FB reminders keep coming. Before reading the answer, I say that this is something worth losing a relationship over. It's revolting (the contest) and the pestering is unacceptable. Tell sister that you will have to treat her like you do any other enterprise that makes unwanted solicitations of you. You will block her email address and unfriend her on FB. And if needed, follow through. Be willing to accept the fallout: it's worth it. (On the other hand, you could just ignore the pestering... she can't check on what you're doing after receiving it.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Advice Illustrated: Assuming Prudie is not a serial killer

I know it's obvious, but if Prudie goes there, I can too
Letter 1 is from a guy falsely accused of rape. He's not ready to date, and wants to know if he should tell.
Prudie decides "to take him at his word that he was falsely accused". So Prudence, you ***, are you going to add that comment to every single letter you reply to now? After that comment, I don't want to read your puke response.
So, dude, get help to get over this. And tell when the time is right.

Video letter is from a gal whose live-in guy farts in front of her. Prudence does not make a statement as to the veracity of the claim before responding that he needs to tighten up and she needs to loosen up. And that if he farts in front of her, it's because he feels at home. Yeah.

Letter 2 is from the daughter of an alcoholic father and an enabler mother. LW won't let 4yo grandson stay overnight with them or drive with grandpa. Recently grandparents took the boy to the restaurant without warning, and grandpa was driving. Hubby wants to confront his inlaws and set the rule that no cars ever again. LW thinks it will be futile, and that they should just make sure there's no cars ever again. I am confused as to how the two approaches differ.
Prudie makes no comment about the veracity of the LW's statement before saying that LW should worry about other people's children and get dad off the road. I agree. She also says to get help for themselves, do an intervention, and to make the scene (so she's with husband on this, as am I).

Correct reaction
Letter 3 is from a drama queen who caught her husband (oops, boyfriend of two years) cheating on her with a slutty coworker. She didn't DTMFA but keeps putting on the hysterics. Her ostensible question is about hating the slut less. After making on comment on the veracity of LW's story, Prudie correctly diagnoses the problem and tells her to dump him and get a grip.

Is it so hard to understand? I'd marry either of them, and I'm not into women
Letter 4 is from a parent who's getting his/her knickers in a twist because he/she doesn't know how to explain the concept of marriage equality to the 3yo. Prudie wastes some time with LW. I won't.