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Stunning and Scary Image from the London Riots

I was thumbing through The Guardian this afternoon, and I came across a series of photos taken by a photographer named Amy Weston.  Before anything else, just look at these three photographs – the light is so intense, the story it tells is of horror:

 

Holy sh*t, people.  Those images are Amy Weston’s experience photographing a woman jumping from a burning flat building in London during these crazy riots that are happening.  Crazy?  Yes.  The crazy part comes from the destruction that takes place, because whatever voice you had before the riot is now gone because some people who like breaking stuff screwed it up for everybody.  I said it, just like in Toronto recently when the black face mask people kicked in windows and generally caused a bunch of chaos.  People who want to have their voices heard en masse really get screwed when the troublemakers turn it into a criminal enterprise.

A side note:  the last time I was in Croydon it was to prep a show in the Fourth Phase UK lighting shop.  Remember Fourth Phase?

my dimmer racks

From the article at The Guardian:

The photographer who took the shot of a woman leaping from a burning building in Croydon used on five national newspaper front pages on Tuesday has told of the mayhem as she captured one of the most dramatic shot of the riots.

Amy Weston had been told there were fires in the Church Street area of Croydon near Surrey Street market and was driving to the scene when she heard screaming by some shops that were in flames.

“There were six or seven people screaming and crying outside, and they looked like they lived at the flats that were burning. The flats were above small independent shops,” said Weston, who works for the London-based Wenn picture agency.

“A man in a white shirt was screaming that a girl was at the window and that she was ready to jump. He ran towards her but riot police had appeared and pulled him back, and they went to her instead.

“As soon as she dropped, the crowds pushed back and there was no way to see what happened to her. I remember hearing people screaming that there were more people in the building. The crowds started getting angry with each other, with one group blaming another group for starting the fire.

Let’s hope those people and any other people harmed in these riots make it through to see the next day.

Thanks to the Guardian and to Huffington Post.

Something Horribly Wrong is Going On at Wicked Lasers

A quick update on this post:  I did receive my laser after  a long wait.  But it took me getting ahold of the VP of Customer Service to do it.  I am, believe it or not, considering ordering a green laser from them.  I have been assured that the manufacturing and shipping problems have been corrected.  So, for what it’s worth, the laser is pretty awesome.

I’m not into libel or anything – these are hard facts for consumers to make up their own mind before they have to go through the experience that I am currently not enjoying.  However, I feel that with the research that I have, consumers can make up their own minds about future purchases from Wicked Lasers.

I’ve been into lasers for quite some time now, and back in August I decided to get one of Wicked Lasers’ 1W direct diode blue lasers from their China facility.  I am putting together a little laser studio, and I thought that their S3 Spyder Arctic 1W blue would be perfect.  Honestly, it would have been perfect, I think, and with the optics sets that I purchased and the laser shades that I ordered, I would have had a nice laser source to conduct some research!  HOW EXCITING!

Oh, contrare, mo frere.

I ordered the Spyder Arctic, along with their Expanded Optics set, the safety lenses (basically a low-power lens), and some laser goggles.  My order total came to $404.89, which was charged to my card the day I purchased the package, August 24.  On that day, Wicked Lasers’ website stated 3-5 days on shipping.  I had fully planned on rocking the heck out of that laser and optics set that weekend!

Well, here’s where the disappointment comes in – and it’s disappointing because, well, it’s a 1W direct diode blue laser, for under $400! I really, really wanted this for my research and work!

About 8 days after not hearing anything from Wicked Lasers about my purchase, I called the customer service center, apparently located in the United States.  At first glance, no one could locate my order number, so a message was taken to have a senior customer service representative call me back.  Another week went by, no contact, so I called again, got the same thing.  Then I went to the website and saw this – a “new” shipping schedule for the S3 Spyder Arctic:

Okay, suck.  So now 3-5 business days has turned into October 24.  Well, I really, really wanted this laser and optics set, so I put it out of my head and gave Wicked Lasers the benefit of the doubt – my order number was #66XXX, so October 24 it shall be.  However, October 24 had come and gone, and nothing.  I called customer service to find out if perhaps my laser package was stuck in US Customs, but once again, the customer service agent couldn’t locate my order number, so yet another message was forwarded to wherever they keep forwarding these messages that never get returned.

I’ve made a total of eleven calls to the US-based customer service department for Wicked Lasers.  I have had a total number of zero messages returned, even when the agent tells me that they’ve found my number, the status is still “backordered,” and a supervisor will call me within the day.

Starting to seem like a sham yet?  Well, it gets better.  Two days ago (October 26, 2010), I went to check the website to see if there was any more new information about my laser package.  I then find this – a new, revised shipping schedule:

The NEW SCHEDULE now says NOVEMBER 28 for shipping my S3 Spyder Arctic laser.  No one at customer service will return my calls.  Customer service agents keep passing me off, telling me that a supervisor will return my call.  Nothing – not even an email telling me that they’ll ship when they’re damned good and ready, nothing.  How about now?  Seem like a sham now?

So Wicked Lasers, since I’ve heard nothing from anyone, I’m filing a chargeback tomorrow and a fraud report with American Express.  Is anyone else who reads JimOnLight.com having this kind of trouble with Wicked Lasers?

OH – then there was this, on the Wicked Lasers Facebook profile:

Who knows what the hell this is about, but what it looks like is crap.  Shipping numbers posted out of order?  What’s that about?  Also, if this is a hack or something, wouldn’t you think that they’d take it down to stop confusing their customers?

Here’s what I know (which was true at the time of writing this post):

  1. Wicked Lasers let me order a laser and accessories that it seems like they have no intention of shipping to me.
  2. Wicked Lasers also took my money immediately for a product that it appears that they will never be shipping – were this a $5-10 dollar item, I’d just eat it and stop wasting my time, but it was over $400.
  3. I am not the only person dealing with this game of poop.
  4. Wicked Lasers CONTINUES TO ACCEPT ORDERS AND PAYMENT FOR LASERS THEY’RE NOT SHIPPING.
  5. Wicked Lasers will not contact me (or others) back with regards of why we don’t have our packages that were promised October 24.
  6. Customer service is a waste of a phone call, and emails are even worse.