Monday, March 16, 2009

your love's contageous, one kiss is dangerous...

He looks old but he has all his hairHello, one and all. The most interesting thing I've done lately is going to a show at a cafe/bar in Seattle a couple days ago to see a guy I hung out with in junior high perform with a couple bands, having been invited to this by my junior year locker partner, I got to talk to his sister who I had a class with when I was in the sixth grade, and I was joined by my best friend from elementary school [at right], another classmate, and the drummer for the band I was in during college. If you find that Mighty Shiny and/or Mountain Kids Fantasy are playing near you (it could happen) go see 'em. Yeah, yeah, everything was orchestrated through Facebook except getting me in, which used good old-fashioned email. I spent all of Sunday recuperating. :-D Paige meanwhile was on the other side of the state visiting relatives for their annual St. Patrick's Day festivities, with several people flying or driving hours to get there, and got back this afternoon because the mountain passes were being snowed under. So we both had an exciting time over the weekend.

The silly thing, some would even call it stupid (six people definitely would) is that 3/4 of the people in that place were there to hear the first two bands. And left when the bands did. The headliner, a six-piece band which included a steel drum and a violin, didn't have much of a crowd left by the time they started playing a Dave Matthews cover... My group felt kinda sorry for them as we left. Only kinda.

Trivial life computer notes: At long last the memory for my computer arrived so hopefully there will no longer be 20 seconds between when I click on the browser when I've been reading email and when it's ready to browse, and I spent a bit of time refurbishing an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) that I have had laying around for a year. It's a completely different model than the one I have been using for a few years so I had to make a communications cable (that's how the computer knows how much juice is in the battery and can shut it down if the AC goes out for more than fifteen minutes) and buy a replacement. After installing the software everything is good, things work as expected, except for one detail... The old one, for home use, would put a dialog onscreen when there was a problem with the backup power. They're mighty shiny! This new one, meant for servers, will send an email or a network message to someone but not display a dialog (because admins don't sit at a server terminal all day; they have smoking out back and first-person shooter games in their office to do). But the solution was easy and what I rely upon with the previous UPS: a buzzer comes on if the power's been out for several seconds, and beeps a few times every minute while it's out. The UPS is less than 3 feet from the computer and about one foot from my legs so it's not like I'm going to miss the alarm.

The weather here has improved a bit, now we're up to rain (sometimes plain, sometimes blotchy sleetish) instead of snow. But it's still wonky because you look out the window to see if it's still raining, the sun is out and shining, then by the time you've gotten your shoes on it's dark and raining hard again. Plus there have been windstorms lately, not too bad where I am but the news has been filled with trees-on-powerlines stories from places 50 miles north.

Hope it's good where you are for the next week, Jamie, and decent where the rest of you readers are.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

freshmen do it enthusiastically -- but bless them, they aren't that good at it

freshmen do it enthusiastically... BRING IT ON!Howdy hiya. The game was still on with the eBay seller for the battery until yesterday. *sigh* Here's a summation of the dialog. I hate bringing this up yet again but it shoulda been friggin' over by now! Okay. You saw a couple weeks ago, around Feb 20, that I had done a Return Merchandise Authorization through their website. Days pass and I don't hear anything from them except a note saying they'd left me positive feedback. It's not often sellers give feedback before the transaction is totally over, but left hand didn't tell right hand, etc. We're into March now, and the story resumes on the fifth through to today...

me: Hi, I haven't heard anything from you about my RMA so I was wondering what's happening.
them: Oh, that got sent out on Feb 26.
me: okay...
them: sends the shipping notice I didn't get earlier, saying it went out on Feb 25 and click this link for tracking.... USPS page says they didn't receive the package from the seller.
me: Hi again, you know that tracking link you gave me? It says the package didn't go out. Could you look into this?
them: Uh, what was the eBay item number and your username?
me: gave them item#, username, and RMA# - quoted the earlier email with the package tracking number and USPS's didn't-receive message. You already know how I hate techs that don't read ticket notes.
them: Oh, that got sent out on Feb 25.
me: Not according to your shipper! It's been over 10 days, it should have come by now. I'll be following up with you on Wednesday, two weeks after you say it was sent out. In the meantime, could you figure out what's up with that package?

Why is this so bloody hard? [twelve hours later] Okay, I have the replacement battery now and it hasn't gone 'poof' yet. Wait, before you say, "you should be patient, Mushy!" -- the postage label on the package is dated March 7. Saturday, when they got the second-italicized-above message from me. I'm good with them realizing the shipping error and correcting it, but am unclear why the next volley still said it went out on Feb 25, not "whoops, error, we're sending it now"...

So, the previously-promised review of the Bio-Ear tinnitus remedy by Nature's Answer, which is $20 a half-ounce. What I've read says that one will see results in as little as a week... I decided to give myself two weeks just to be on the safe side. "Designed to safely and effectively stop the ringing and buzzing in your ears, this natural herbal remedy contains aloe vera for nourishing nerve endings and ginseng for stimulating blood flow so you can experience that inner peace and quiet you so desperately desire." So far, after probably a week and a half, I've heard no difference. Possibly because I'm paying attention to the noise, which I normally don't do. I realize there are various causes of this issue, and knowing me it might be from damage to a cranial nerve from popping my neck or damage to the eardrum itself from a cotton swab (I have had scarring before from overzealous earwax removal) rather than something this can remedy. i (heart) 2 (screw) It's not bad, it's just there, and before you say "go to a doctor"... like a lot of people, I will when I have a job with health insurance again.

The weather here in the Puget Sound area has been really stupid. It'll be totally sunny and warm, then ten minutes later there will be a driving hailstorm. Or you'll go out and get the paper off the porch, it's mildly overcast and a bit cool outside, then when you look up from the front page it's snowing heavily. Other than some Kodak moments and head-scratching, the only effect that it's had on me directly is that my wife and I didn't go out this weekend like we had planned. See, her mother was going to drive across Snoqualmie Pass to do some shopping at IKEA on Friday and it was all planned out how we were going to have lunch with her. Night before, the pass is closed because of heavy snow. Friday we sleep in. Friday afternoon we get a call from her saying that it's open so she'll be over on Saturday morning. Snowing again, and she calls at 10am to say cancel our noon rendezvous. More sleeping in. She's now saying Tuesday, when Paige has to work at noon, or failing that this coming Friday, which will be the last chance for her to do her furniture shopping before her granddaughter with the hex wrench shows up for their St. Patrick's Day festivities. Furthermore, since the nightly news says to expect 20 inches on the pass in the near future, it's possible that Paige might not be going over there for St. Patty's either. It's too warm for snow to stick in Tacoma because it's MARCH... enough with the pointless frozen precipitation already! Oh look, a snow flurry has just started [noon 3/9] and it's sticking in places...

So this morning [10am 3/10] the phone rings. Backstory first: Now, maybe I've mentioned this before, but I'm listed in the phone book by my first initial B, and there's some guy named Benjamin with the same last name that has been ducking his creditors since the late 1990's. We're not related, but the phone solicitors see the initial and immediately think I'm that deadbeat. Now then... The woman asks to speak to Benjamin. Nope, no Benjamin here, I tell her, and never has been. Now, most of the time the creditors will say "oh, sorry, I'll remove your name" or somesuch. This woman, after being told that I am not the 'droid she's looking for, corrects herself by saying this is Comcast and they want to send me a free digital converter box, they just need to confirm some information. *Click* Had I not been 1/4 asleep I would have said what came to me about a minute later: "Please work on your social engineering skills. Comcast knows my name." Needless to say, later when I checked the Caller ID box it was listed as "toll-free". FAIL

Sunday, March 01, 2009

and wisdom to know the difference

1972, when we were still cuteHello, adoring public of my adorable public blog. There's only one item to offer, an update to last issue's story. A word of welcome to my seventh reader, my younger brother, who offers a word of greeting (by name!) to my second reader, Jamie. He wrote me back to clarify that he did indeed write the previous letter himself, and in this latest letter demonstrated further that his writing style is very much like that of our mother so I am convinced. He did show her the letter before responding, though, so it was not absolutely without influence. :) He also stated, pardon my lack of quoting, that what was said before was indeed the opinion he holds of me, and that he wishes to stay on the porch with our parents (yes, he phrased it in response to what I said here last week). There was more said but it's not germaine to the original issue; we did seem to agree on one thing, that I should [and do] praise God every day that I have never had children. And that as they say is that, his family and mine won't soon be having a weenie roast. I haven't heard anything from my youngest brother yet, and this email I got from my sister wasn't a reply -- it was a forwarded patriotic story making the rounds.

I had originally planned to send my mother an email on March 1 with a status report: who wrote, what they said, and who didn't respond. But I realized a week ago that word gets around so she already knows the score. What I was going to say in that letter was that due to something my mother had said in her Christmas card, I made a New Year's Resolution... and I kept it. I wanted her to know I found her advice to be correct and that I followed it. Good or bad, win or lose, come what may, I reached out to my three siblings and asked them for an opinion about reclaiming some lost ground. I couldn't rightly say whether my mother, in pointing out that I've been distant from my siblings and how this is hardly commendable, had any notion at the time of whether they agreed or disagreed with our distance, but I suppose she and I both know now. I didn't a month ago, for sure. Hey, I tried, so the subject should be off of the table now.

I'll write something more upbeat and stupid next time. The other things that come to mind right now, like getting positive feedback early from the eBay seller that will be sending me a replacement for the defective battery or how this homeopathic remedy for tinnitis is working, are fairly trivial and disorderly. And in looking back over the two posts for the month of February, I've said parts of this already (but as I learned at my last job, there are people who like it when you repeat what you said a couple inches downscreen because they're amazingly lazy). I just wanted to get this out in the open, say some hello's, and remind myself that I should accept the things I cannot change while finding courage to change the things I can.

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