Friday, February 20, 2009

contractual obligation

swingersHiya... I'm not terribly inspired to write and the one major stupidity that I have to share is indeed major but I don't really want to relive it. It took me a couple days to get my head around and past this, and I suppose it was a happy (for me) coincidence that a dear friend was having absurd times with her family regarding wills and financial arrangements, and elected to tell me all the sordid details. [Thanks, Bertie, I needed the laugh... glad that you can laugh over them too.] I will quote something I wrote elsewhere however to get my point across. These are real quotes from the letter that I sent my siblings and a response received the other day from my five-years-younger brother:

Feb 2, 2009
Dear younger brother:
I have not been much of a part of your family's lives. At no point in my adult life have I ever had a dislike for my siblings, and I have embraced that they have found special people and produced beautiful children. I would like to bridge the gap that has long existed between me and you, it just doesn’t seem like something that should exist. But it’s not as simple as just resolving to fix things, I want you to send me an email and tell me what you think. You can be honest if you are comfortable with our distance, but I want to know what your thoughts are regardless so please give me a response. I’ve long made no effort to keep in touch with my family and now I am making an earnest effort to reach out to you.

Feb 17, 2009
Dear older brother:
I received your letter in regards to reconnecting and becoming a new and improved part of our lives. I must admit I was a little surprised to see a letter from you. Being that you have never really cared about anyone in this family except yourself, I must ask why you write this letter now. Is it really that you sincerely want to reconnect, someone trying to push you to reconnect, or maybe its even this years New Year’s resolution? Whatever your reason for this attempt to connect, I will play along.

Wow. I don't consider it paranoid to say that my mother wrote that, not my brother, and here is the evidence: First, the letter was an attachment in .doc format, not something that was typed in the email program. Second, there were two weeks between when I sent the letter and when I got the reply, which is ample time for my sibs to contact my parents and say "what shall we do with this?"... and my mother to jot something up for my brother to pass along. Third, while I have no idea what my brother's writing style is nowadays, that was most definitely my mother's writing style and phrasing. The first thing I wrote in reply was, "do you really feel that way?" I haven't had any follow-up from him or others just yet, but I decided after mulling for a couple days that if this is how my siblings think of me, it pains me but they will have to stay on the porch with our folks. See, it's been said in various ways and places, but I keep my parents at bay because I am happier without the drama and disregard. I'm the black sheep of the family and they let me know it at every opportunity. I would hope that my siblings realise (I know that my sister totally understands, she grinds an axe harder than I do at times!) that our parents' approach doesn't work, and not use it themselves. If they do, sigh, then they've made a bad choice and I'll stay over here in my world. They're welcome to think whatever they will after that.

There has been one other stupid thing... Okay, I told the story earlier about how the three laptop batteries I have are all nonfunctional (2 not recognised, 1 not charging). I had bookmarked a couple sellers online who offered them for under $30. I decided to wait until the tax refund was lined up, then I went on a shopping spree. Both of those websites had raised their prices above $60. Fine, I went to eBay and found someone offering the batteries for $29.95 and bought one, which came in the mail yesterday. I put it in, it's recognised! And charging! the white picket fence everyone wants But inside of an hour later, after the charge level had gone from 59% to 68%, the red light on the notebook came on. The charging firmware says there's been a failure in the battery... and I can smell burned circuitry ("the magic smoke got out" as we techies say). Fuuuuuhh. Cooked. The seller's procedure says: email us, and if you don't hear anything within 4 business hours email us again, and if you don't hear anything from us within 8 hours call us at the number eBay has on record. Nothing in 4 hours, or the next morning. I can't find any phone number through eBay or the seller's website. Sent another email, they replied to this one telling how to plug in and charge a battery (I love script monkeys!) but to their credit also advising to go to their website and click on the "generate RMA" link at the top of the page (wow, had I known I would have done that yesterday!), and send it back. Bonus giggle: I went to the eBay page to get all the model details for the RMA, and the price they are charging went up to $33.95 -- what's the sudden rise, everyone? That's what I did around 4 p.m. today, so they should be replacing it shortly... Just bugs me that I have to wait some more. But they appear to be good sports so far so I'll just think positive.

Actual stupid thing someone said dept: Phone rings. Caller ID gives the name of a business I did a cattle-call interview with years ago, they sell air filtration systems and at the time were looking for demonstrators (a.k.a. salespeople) by advertising with the line "do you like to eat Doritos and chug Mountain Dew?"... when to do the job you had to be anything but a slacker. I didn't take them up on it because they repeatedly said this "was not sales"; sorry, selling an item is sales, not merely the operators who are standing by to take your order. I answer the phone, the person says this isn't a sales call (giggle!) but a survey about air quality. I answer the standard questions about my home and life, and the one that tripped me was, "okay, now what age bracket are you in... 21 to 75?" Only one. That's quite the demographic.

Friday, February 06, 2009

in case of emergency: scream a lot, it feels good

Hi there. There isn't a lot to report about the world we live in and life in general, though I am probably overlooking something, but it is blog update time and I don't want to let the lot of you down. Right now I'm downloading a well-known software bundle that most new computers have preinstalled, which I cannot name because I don't really need the attention, but I think you know the one... you've seen the commercials with the guy in a suit and a bearded young man in casual clothes, which start off with the two announcing what form of computer they are? And the eventual message is that the latest major release by the suited guy has been somewhat of a disaster? Yeah, those ads, and that new product. Clover Creek Restoration Project But not for me, of course, it's for a friend who paid for that product (indirectly, with the purchase of a computer for her daughter) but cannot find the disks due to bad management and a recent move across the Cascade Mountains.

You have seen in previous entries how a friend deposited a desktop machine and a notebook computer at my house last year, so that I may invoke the power of Saint Dogbert -- heal broken technology with the wave of my paw and rid them of their demons of stupidity. The upshot of that tale, I think I reported, was that the owners of these computers needed to provide me with the CDs that came with the machines, a feat they could not and still cannot seem to accomplish. (The happy announcement "I found it!" which was followed by disks of one software package, some printer drivers, and the notebook's how-to-use guide was a letdown for all.) In time my friend said she would purchase new disks, not realizing that both the older stable version and the newer flaky version have a list price of $200 for the base installs, more if you want the ones that have psychic powers over kitchen appliances. So she's out hunting for better prices on those packages. Meanwhile, I'm taking the more direct route and downloading them from disreputable sources. I have one computer fixed using a ready-to-rock stripped down version of the older stable package, and according to BitZip (which somehow went from a beautiful and detailed Torrent client to a video player that, psst, also downloads Torrents and does a great job of it yet has lost all its beauty and detailedness) I have about twelve more hours to get the stripped-down version of the "ultimate" new package. I was given an option by my friend, after she'd made a couple calls, of me ordering it and someone else paying for it later so she could go pick it up tomorrow... no, I'm pretty sure that you have to pay when you order, so that won't work.

In other computer news, I haven't ordered the battery for my notebook yet but will do that sometime soon. Not a pressing issue. I want to have the tax refund on the way before I do that, and I would have gone on H&R Block's site a week an a half ago to do that had my wife not said, "We got this email at work, saying the office had messed up on our W-2's..." So far as I know the matter has been resolved but it's not as though she checks her email or remembers to ask anyone (or finishes the half-gallon of milk that expires in a week before starting a new container) so I have no idea. I'll do the taxes when I remember to do it in a lull.

And speaking of email and family nuttiness... I think I have mentioned that my mother gave me some grief in her Christmas card about not being tight with my siblings and their families. I did follow through on my New Year's resolution to get a letter drafted to my sister and two brothers by February 1, added ink to the printer, and sent them out on Groundhog's Day. In it, I asked them to each send me an email telling me their point of view about Paige and I being a new and improved part of their lives... I did it like that because I don't have my brothers' email addresses (they both Facebook so they do have computers and email) and my sister doesn't read her email. I have not received a response at this moment from any of them, but it's still early; they've only had those letters for 3-4 days. I plan to write my mother an email on March 1 to tell her who said what (or didn't say "what?") and politely add that I did take her words about my connection to my nestmates and their families to heart afterall. Little to no presentation on their part about wanting to be connected means she will never be able to give me any further static on the subject for the rest of either of our lives.

I used to write such fascinating posts...

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