Thursday, July 12, 2007

there's too many homefires burning and not enough trees

one of God's creaturesHiya, all. My spot in the world has been pretty okay lately... just been humming Pink Floyd's "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" while contemplating solo photo jaunts, enjoying the new fan overhead, and talking to some folks I haven't heard from lately, including both of the Jeffs. (But I didn't tell the second one to catch a clue. He still needs to, though.) Paint samples have been procured for starting in on the kitchen but they haven't been applied, I'm trying to bang together plans with a friend I haven't been in the same room with since 1992 who has moved back to Washington from Maryland [email of a few hours ago: "transportation has become an issue" says she], and in a couple hours I'm going to go see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Images this episode: Upper - This person was on the corner of 38th & Pacific gesticulating, which could have been competition for the chunky girl with the Little Caesar's Pizza arrow sign who dances on that corner until 2 p.m. every day (you'd think with the aerobic workout she'd be more buff?) but this person was facing into the Rite-Aid parking lot, not out toward traffic. Lower - My old bud Greg was talking about the eyes we've fallen into the other day, and this is one I've found myself in (if only in reflection, which I am in the photo)... click for a screen-sized version. Along with eyebrows, eyelashes should be left alone as well. Stupidity carried over from last week: I submitted my request for the weekend of the 21st off so that I could go to a family reunion [read: Tech Support Comedy picnic] and a week later I still haven't received clearance. The powers-that-be at my work are concerned that if a certain contract gets signed, everyone's workload is going to go up 20x, but they're missing the point that we've been working with that company all year and they seem to be in no big hurry to step up things. If it gets signed, all time-off requests will be cancelled. Fine, this will come as bad news to the person I'm filling in for two days the first week of August. But it isn't, so they might as well just give me the time off now and retract it later IF the need arises, which I presume (obviously) it won't. I'm not a control freak, I just like to make sure that all plans I make are solid and hate it when other people won't commit. Plus it seems that whenever anyone else asks for time off I'm told I'll be filling in for them -- again, fine by me -- but when I ask for time off I have to fight tooth and nail to get anyone to let me have it, and the last time I asked (when a friend was flying in from Colorado) I was denied.

Now, for today's stupidity, something you might encounter yourself soon so consider this an advanced(?) warning. The other day I found a book online that I wanted to pre-order, which will be released in September, and they take PayPal. I was going through the book's site to order, and it kept giving me a rejection message that didn't explain anything. Okay, so I'll log into PayPal to find out what's up. The site advises me that there are three validation measures it wants me to undertake to re-enable my account. As a professional phish-hunter I am wary of a message like that, but this is indeed PayPal's site telling me this, so I jump through the hoops (now they know my mother's maiden name, they've called and asked for the validation code sent in an email, and some other thing, plus I needed to update some credit card expiration information anyway since the new one arrived recently). Account fine, back to the book site, place that order, goes through fine. I was confused by this rigamarole because only a week or two prior I'd used my PayPal account to buy something else and had no issues or alerts. So I wondered why PayPal hadn't bothered to tell me there were security updates that I would need to attend to, rather than just springing it on me. the drowning pool (click me) Of course, the email they'd send to say there were things to update would look just like the phishing spams I see every day at work, but they didn't bother trying and if PayPal were wise (which they try to be) they'd merely say "enter this address in your browser, log into your account, and do what you gotta" rather than having links to click like the phish spams do. But this leads to the second stupidity of a few days later... So later I get an email from a company saying they are doing customer satisfaction surveys for PayPal. Always wary, I clicked on it and went through the survey. (It was legit. There were no requests for identifying information.) But the thing I noticed was that this survey was geared to those who called PayPal for assistance. I didn't do that, I followed the directions onscreen after logging in and took care of my issues myself. So as you can guess, half of the results of this survey are totally meaningless: they didn't offer "0" as the number of times I had to call to get things fixed, they didn't offer "did not call" as an option for several questions about how well I was treated on the phone, and I had little choice but to rate the quality of the imaginary call as "neither positive nor negative." There was a fill-in-the-blank near the beginning, before all the assume-I-phoned questions, which asked about why I called... and I entered "I didn't call, this was all through the web and the correct answers aren't offered in this survey" in addition to the obvious reason: "why didn't you guys tell me there was suddenly an issue?"

We saw the latest Harry Potter movie and really enjoyed it.
I've preordered two of the new books from and will receive them on July 21.

I'm going to CA next week to visit my brother. I will be helping him paint the inside of his apartment for part of my visit. What fun it will be!

I hope you get time off from work as requested.
What a bummer if you don't!!!

Eye think eye can see into your soul in that pic.
My wife is #40 on the library's hold list, and since they're going to bring in 75 copies she'll get hers on arrival. :)

Enjoy your painting. I did a little touchup work the other day, but it was a necessity -- those blue tape ads are complete fiction, I tell ya. They don't keep the paint off what you are trying to paint -- and they don't leave the existing paint intact when removed.

Me too. Just found out the host of the party got canned yesterday afternoon. Fewer distractions from party planning, I guess...

Good that you can see a soul in that girl's eye -- she hasn't let ME see it in over twenty years.
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