PlazaJen: The Blog

Riding the Bike with One Pedal.

Category: mutterings (page 2 of 3)

Rights, Rights, Rights.

So, I was mulling over this crazy situation that’s coming up this weekend, with the little cult-like church down in Gainesville, FL that plans to burn the Qu’ran on September 11.
On the one hand, you have freedom of speech, and what they’re doing falls under that umbrella. It’s like the nutters of Westboro Baptist, or the Klan, or any other group you despise. Hate what they say, defend to the end their right to do it.
In fact, it’s the Number One amendment in our Bill of Rights.

On the other hand, you have freedom of religion, and it’s not particularly love-thy-brother to burn any religion’s holy book, declare them Evil and want to eradicate them. One of the persecutions our founding fathers were fleeing was an imposed religion. Wait, that’s also covered in that First Amendment. Hm. In fact, this church’s brand of lunacy dogma is protected as well.

Certainly there are greater scholars than I, who could expound for days on the topic of Constitutional Law, Religion, and freedoms in general.

What our original government never could have imagined was a day when information transmitted in the millisecond of a lightbulb turning on, that images and words and moving pictures would exist and live on ad infinitum in an ethereal world that gives as much as it takes.

So what do we do? We can’t legally order this man not to proceed with his notion of protest. It is in direct contrast to (most of) our collective values, whether you worship Jesus, Jehovah or JellyBellys. (Allah, too, but it doesn’t start with J.) I’d like to see the entire world turn their backs. If the Qu’ran burns in the forest and nobody puts it on the internet, did it really happen?

Of course, our rapacious modern media won’t do this. Someone will argue the need to record the event for historic purposes. But the media attention is what this man WANTS. Giving it to him, and thus elevating his notoriety not only in our country, but the world, is, in my opinion, irresponsible. The so-called minister of this ‘church’, and I use the term loosely, has said he’s willing to die for his beliefs, but he has no regard for how his actions could trigger the reaction that would cause the deaths of our own soldiers abroad. Sure, you can spend another fortnight arguing responsibility there – if I load a gun, turn the safety off, and hand it to a ten-year old, do I get to throw my hands in the air and say, “Hey, I didn’t pull the trigger.” ? To me, this is where the decision breaks down. If you want to burn something – even a flag- and the only repercussions are social ostracization (or acceptance by like-minded people) or the only harm can come to you, then knock yourself the hell out. But when the fucking U.S. General overseeing our military operations says, “Hey, you doing this could really start some bad shit half a continent away, and oh by the way, your little shindig will be used in terrorist training videos,” wouldn’t you think twice? Maybe I’m being generous by using the word “think”. It just angers me that one of our soldiers, doing their job in Afghanistan, could somehow suffer the fallout from this person’s “conviction” to protest.

And, while I’m at it, I object to the conversations that compare this to burning an American flag.  Because when you burn the Bible, you’re making a statement against Christians. Or the Torah, against Jews. So on and so forth. The flag? That’s all of us. You, me, black, white, every shade in-between, no matter your god, no matter your political party, no matter your income or education status: all of us are under that flag. When you make the choice to burn the flag, you are indicting our country in your protest, and it is (pick your option) an act of defiance against the entire country or an act of aggression against the entire country. Even this is still protected in our country. But these two situations are not the same.

Just remind yourself this weekend about what our First Amendment rights protect. And remember the people who died on September 11th, and all the other people, soldiers, freedom fighters who continue to die to protect this right.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This is the most heralded truth I hold as a citizen of this country, and I am sad that the actions of one tiny pocket of our population (who enjoy the very freedoms they are denigrating) could be seen as representative of our collective beliefs about the Muslim faith.

Nothing Like A Little Gunplay Before Bed…

Did you hear about this story? Well, I was at least glad to get more details this morning, as I went to bed scared shitless because of the activity surrounding it in our neighborhood.  I was getting ready to turn everything off and go to bed, and I heard some strange noises outside. The dogs heard them, too, but didn’t get too alarmed (and they bark at almost everything), so I didn’t think much of it. Then, a cop car with lights & sirens on flew down our street. Like, at least 60 mph. (I thought, huh, he’s going to realize he went BY Crazy Cat Lady’s house any second…. since that’s where they normally stop.) Nope. I’m turning off lights, and BLAM, there goes another cop car, in the other direction, no sirens or lights, then two MORE cars go by, with just lights. And the sound of a helicopter grows closer.

Now I’m a little skittish. As are the dogs. They are burfing and running from lookout point to lookout point. I am locking and checking everything and turning off lights as fast as possible. (If someone’s in our back yard, I don’t want to be lit up like a shiny pink target through the windows.) Our house is right by an elementary school, and in the parking lot, I see a huge convergence of  cop car lights at all sorts of crazy angles, lit from overhead by the copter. THEN they all peel off and are driving back down our street! They turn on the corner, another cop car meets them (this is all now just one backyard and across the street from our house), the copter is circling, and I hear POWPOWPOWPOWPOW like, fifteen times, and while they sort of sound like firecrackers, in my mind, there could only be one explanation: gun fire. And THEN, the copter keeps circling and the cars start backing up to leave like they didn’t get the person (though it would seem they did, now that I read the news bite)  and after the hubbub seemed to be moving away, I finally let the dogs out for one quick potty break, and put myself into bed, where my sleeping husband continued to doze, missing all the excitement. (I did try to see if he would stir and wake up after the gunplay, but he had taken a Tylenol PM and was out for the night.) Had it turned into a Shotgun Needed! sort of night, I would have tried harder, of course. I was just terrified we had bandito(s) in the greenhouse, hiding.

This morning, I reflected on the fact that was quite the run in the nighttime cold weather, from Popeye’s to our neighborhood. It’s not that far distance-wise, but there’s a pretty big hill, slick spots everywhere and I just can’t comprehend how all of that could have been close to worth it – what could the till be at Popeye’s? $100? Now the dude’s in a hospital bed, in critical condition. Another drain on the system, for who knows how long.  It blows my mind that we are neglecting students’ education, not putting the money into education properly, instead emphasizing test scores over actual learning, yet we’ll pay so much more in the long run with the less-desirable public services – prison, policing and officers involved in shootings, court system, hospital bills.  Our priorities as a nation are fucked up.  I don’t understand how we can be so logically challenged. I realize that even with massive overhauls, there will always be criminals, but I’m watching my husband slog through a classroom of kids who could care less about performing on state-mandated tests –  yet they know how to do the work, and get it when he uses an analogy of their apathy to them. It’s somewhat ironic: If you went to Popeye’s and ordered a bucket of chicken, ten pieces, but they put 6 raw ones in and gave you only 4 cooked pieces, you’d be mad, right? You didn’t order raw chicken! Well, that’s what you’re giving me – only 40% of your ability, when I know you can do 100%. They all nod. Yes, they’d be mad. Nobody eats raw chicken.

But they just don’t care. Get a gun. Rob the joint. It’s somehow, technically, easier. Again, logic is defied. I can only shake my head.

I Might As Well Live Blog This

Because Plurk/Twitter ran out of room! I’m sharing my thoughts on the Big Spendy Super Bowl Commercials b/c I got tired of keeping my character count low.

Final Final Update:

My apologies to Betty White. I started late and skipped the Snickers spot. Please don’t come and kick my ass. I saw you roast William Shatner and what you lack in football skills, you more than make up for with an acerbic tongue.

If you want to watch all the spots, here they are at AdAge.com.

Final Update,9:00 pm

Congrats New Orleans. Great, great defense, despite me wondering aloud to the dogs, repeatedly, “why so much tiiiime for Manning?” I’m sure the Chiefs will get there next year. (try not to snort all over your screen, k?)

Egads, yet another eTrade spot. Maaaake theeeeeem stopppppp.

Final flo.tv spot – funny, made the point, but it also made me think – really? Do we need to have television :everywhere: all the time? Heaven forbid you talk to you kids in the car, just keep ’em hypnotized.

Update: 8:48 pm

WOW. N’awlens is gonna win this, I do believe!

Danica Patrick: you need to find some sort of better gig. Have a little pride in your accomplishments, not your accoutrements.

Denny’s Chickens? Now only require :10 to make me laugh. I reverse my earlier declaration that the campaign was off.

Update: 8:42 pm CST

OK. Ninja Dorito Tim made me laugh out loud. Nice touch with the chip-to-the-neck.

Bud Light Book Club – huh. A bit funny, made the guy look like a total cheesehead. (Hey, I’ll be fair!)

Oh yay, more weird eTrade babies. I didn’t even understand that one.

Yay, the Amazing Race starts next week!

Update: 8:37 pm CST

And Tracey Porter will live THAT moment for the rest. of. his. life.

Audi’s Green Diesel car – nice spot. I’m the recycling nutjob in our house so it resonated.

Taco Bell – kinda lame. Star power be damned, Charles Barkley. Yes, I said it. Please don’t show up on my doorstep.

Update: 8:30 pm CST

I have to say, this has turned into quite good football game.

Dante’s Inferno only reminds me of LEEEEEEROOOOOY Jenkins.

Budweiser colt/calf? Gotta have the animal spot.

Honda – interesting I suppose – got the nooks & crannies and a fit for everything message across.

Denny’s follow-up spot – now, this is good. Especially on the heels of Leroy Jenkins, who at least has chicken. The screaming chickens, fleeing respective cities, and the Oval Office scene should make this one of the top-rated spots tomorrow.

Update 8:10 pm CST

Vizio’s new tv? with video apps? WAAAAANT. Pretty cool spot and loads of tiny details for the web-devoted.:cough:

Emerald Nuts & Pop Secret: funny. Odd combo. A bit confusing at first, but I’ve seen enough EN commercials to know they always deliver- gotta love the people-as-dolphins, and kudos for including a dude.

Update 8:08 pm CST

Did you know that in this huge chunk of tv time we call the Super Bowl there’s really only about 11 minutes of actual football PLAYING TIME? There’s just a lot of standing around and getting ready, but not so much action. (article in Wall Street Journal a couple weeks ago.)

NFL: Nice spot, using Arcade Fire automatically makes me feel connected. Except it got used a LOT for the movie “Where the Wild Things Are” and I went to put that in our Netflix queue.

Second time Air Force ran their spot – it’s good. Obviously aimed at chilluns who can read that shit faster than me, on the bottoms of their surfboards and boogieboards.

Time Warner Cable: Wife is swooping in and making you scrapbook if you have Direct TV. Fuck. My. Life.

Quick Trip (local spot) – funny.

Update: 8:03 pm CST

Kia Sorento? Loved it. Sock Monkey is a scamp. Entertaining. The tattoo scene was the best.

Roundup: What are you doing in here? It’s February. We have snow everywhere, not weeds. I hope you didn’t pay a lot.

Budweiser 55: Huh. Eventually beer will be devoid of all flavor, calories and color. It will be called “water”.

Update: 7:59 pm CST

Census: Yay, look at my favorite actors from Waiting for Guffman, etc.

Google! You pretty much rule the school and own the world. Spot gave me goosebumps. Googlebumps?

Update: 7:52 pm CST

Michelob Ultra with Lance Armstrong? Huh. Surprise. Memorable, if only for the surprise factor. Whodathunk he’d spokesperson for beer?

HomeAway.com – good takeaway, disarming to see the stars from movies I saw in my formative years looking like my grandparents.

Bridgestone – whew, I thought we’d have a mysogyny-free 3rd quarter, but good! Way to keep it revived. Message?  We’d rather keep the tires than our wife.

Coke! I love your ads, sorry I forgot to give you props for the earlier awesome Simpsons ad, and this safari trek was nifty.

eTrade, thanks for bringing up the rear there with another bitchy woman-in-form-of-toddler ad. Thanks! Because you weren’t creepy enough.

Update: 7:43 pm CST

Miller HighLife – made me chuckle, but not compelling enough to go to the website.

Football: Hank Baskett is gonna re-live that moment for a long, long time. Woof.

PunchBUG! I love it. Nice touch with Stevie Wonder at the end.

Denny’s chickens? Kinda freaky. I kept expecting some sort of fried-chicken dish, much as I oppose putting live animals in juxtaposition with cooked product, so was relieved it was eggs. (good thing no pigs had cameos, given the side of bacon…)  I couldn’t tell you what the timeframe is for the giveaway, but I’m sure it will be just as successful as last year’s.

Halftime Show:

I’m not kidding. It’s like one giant run-on ad for the three CBS CSI properties. Coincidence? I think not. Someone had to dust Roger Daltrey off and wake him up.

Update: 7:12 pm CST

So, I’m back. And I’m wondering if CBS, the NFL and the Super Bowl realize that women watch this game, too. (About a third of the audience is female)

The Dodge Charger ad? Meh, fine, all you guys are put-upon and we nag the shit out of you and you agree to do it because, in the end, you get a speedy car. Just to be a bitch (and as someone who knows more about car models than a lot of guys), that rear window is a real challenge to see much of anything, so if it comes with a rear camera option, take it. I found myself going nuts trying to place the voice. (Dexter’s Michael C. Hall, if you were also wondering.)

But THEN, flo.tv? I hate you. Women remove their men’s spines and make them go underwear shopping. Huh. Does this actually happen in the real world?

Teleflora – women are backbiting bitches in the workplace, too. Sweet. I guess the beyotch getting evil flowers in a box from someone in prison was ‘justice’ but still. I kept hearing the arrows whizzing past me at the male target.

Intel – poor man’s Paul Giamatti. Sorta flat. Nice touch at the end though, putting people behind the trademark notes and electronics/brand.

Second flo.tv with the will.i.am re-mix was much better, but it’s too late, I already hate you.

All the Budweiser ads have been meh to me as well. The human bridge was kinda freaky, the Lost spoof was amusing but predictable.

Oh, and Danica Patrick? Please. Someday GoDaddy will just…GO. Away.

6:33 pm

Ads so far: LOVED the Letterman Show spot, with Oprah and Jay. Like, mind-blowing for a dedicated Dave fan. Awesome.

I liked the Dove for Men ad. I would buy it for the Wo.

Let me take a minute to school our friends at the Dockers home office. If you are going to run an ad (a rather weird ad, but it had a great lead-in with CareerBuilder’s startling workplace with underwear-wearing employees) that states “Free Pants” DURING THE SUPER BOWL, you are going to need a bigger server. I immediately typed in the dedicated URL and waited. And waited. After several minutes, it loaded. I clicked on “Men” and the whole fuckin’ thing crashed. Yep, it was me. Guess what – people watch TV and they multi-task. I guess if you wanted hits as your measurement of success – yay! You got it! But how annoying to not have the party ready when we all showed up.

The Doritos ads are… meh – though the shock collar one did make me chuckle. Right now I have two dogs begging to be fed, so I’m going to pause & be back shortly.

oh mah goooooood

ok, sorry, this isn’t a real post. I’ve spent the morning doing the WP upgrade (sorry, Meesha, no matter how many times I try to use the automatic upgrade, I’m still forced to do the overall upgrade manually.) Which was all fine and dandy until I tried to upgrade my plugins, which absolutely refuse to connect to my server. I’ve checked, double-checked, changed host numbers, tried different passwords, all to no avail. wtf? and then I see that my basic config file hasn’t been updated/upgraded since October, so I edited that  – and suddenly my entire blog went away. I almost threw up. So I restored the old file and blog came back, but I know I don’t have the most current config.php file now, the sizes are different, but this is definitely where the blurring of capability meets doesn’t-necessarily-know-wtf-she-is-doing collide and so I may require some speshal help at some point. I do have a laptop now so I’m mobile, if anyone wants to find time to meet after the snowpocalypse melts.

BLEAH!

But let’s talk about my precious. Precious Ramotswe, named Precious first and foremost because my laptop makes me feel like Gollum, and I want to pet my precioussssss yesssssss, we covet, and then I thought I’d class it up by naming her for the main character in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, whom I love.  She’s a stately Dell Studio Inspiron, 17″, Windows 7  and has all the bells & whistles I wanted/needed for less than it would have cost to buy a notebook off the shelf & add on the programs. Had to wait a few weeks, but worth it.

My new little friend...JWo said it looks like a creamsicle. It is delicious!

Don’t Let The Door Hit Ya On The Way Out

I know, like many other people, that I will be very glad to see the door close on 2009 tonight. Can’t say that I feel that way about the entire decade, of course, because countless wonderful things have happened in my life over the past ten years. I just see 2009 as a year that brought more challenges and strife than I cared to have. I shut the door on people (some shut the door on me!), I lost my job (but gained another!), and had lots of job stress and a couple really scary health scares (bronchitis, my eyes).

All of that said, though, and some of my negative thoughts about the year, I will say that this has been the year of contradictions. My job (that I lost) depressed me beyond belief – but then I got a new one that renews and energizes me.  Unemployment depressed me, but I reconnected and made new connections and feel more ensconced with fantastic, smart, creative people than any year before. And the mack-daddy depression of them all, the grief that never leaves me, my father’s death, that got better. I no longer feel like I am the lone ox, pulling the yurt with a tribe of nomads trampling it as I strain to put one foot in front of the other. There are days with great sadness, melancholy, and some tears, but there isn’t the sense of toppling over the edge into an abyss. Time truly works wonders.

I know that in time, some of the anger and frustration I absorbed and carried this year will also fade. But now, in the moment? I’ve got a special Fuck You to a few people, and while I don’t think they read my blog, but if they do? They should be bright enough to know it’s meant just for them. Enjoy, motherfuckers. Karma’s a bitch.

As for the rest of you twatweasels I know, love and look forward to laughing with next year? Happy New Year, and I love ya. Thanks for reading and all the comments. 2010 is gonna rock.

So it’s eleventy-billion degrees out…

…and I am very grateful to the person who invented air conditioning! Gah! We’re under an extreme heat warning now through Wednesday, as our mid-to-upper 90’s are combining with our excessive humidity and making it feel like, I don’t know, EXPLOSIVE, in both Celsius and Farenheit.

The heat also makes tempers a little shorter, I think. I just fired off an email to some feller over in Roeland Park KS who has used some service that keeps autodialing me with a recorded message pushing his city council campaign. First of all? I am at work and it’s not legal to telemarket or call people at their place of business. Two? I’m in freakin’ MISSOURI, so I can’t even vote for you. STOP IT.

Got through Father’s Day… we watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on Saturday night, and that made me teary, as did numerous other things all weekend long. Heightened sensitivities, to be expected, I guess. I’m irritated with social media turning into one giant playground, with people friending and unfriending and blocking and behaving like it’s high school. Oddly enough, they end up being the ones looking foolish, so there’s hope the universe isn’t devolving as quickly as it feels, sometimes. I’m irritated that my insurance company kicked back a bill for a mammogram because it had the layer of diagnostics attached to it. I see. Yes, Yes, I should have to pay out-of-pocket for more expensive x-rays and a sonogram, since we were checking a lump – if everything’s a-ok, then it’s covered. If you THINK you might have cancer, we don’t want to cover that, we’ll just pay for tests when you’re healthy. Logic. The insurance industry Does Not Have It. Actually, after a call to them this morning, and being put on hold a few times, resulted in a ‘re-evaluation’ and the conclusion that it was processed incorrectly. Ya think?

What’s to be cheerful about? Well, vacation is approaching, and the new pool is up, full, and not leaking. Thank heavens. And I’ll be turning the page on the ol’ Calendar of Life in a couple weeks – I do still enjoy the b’day celebrations. All the plants are bursting along in the garden – hubs started a gardening blog, you’ll have to check it out: http://kctomatotimes.wordpress.com/ The man knows a lot about gardening, that’s for sure!

We have an abundance of basil, so I made pesto yesterday, and then contemplated the abundance of Thai basil that we have. It all got whacked, so it will continue to thrive and grow and not put effort into creating seed, so everything got a healthy trim. There is one basil variety that has a strong licorice taste to it, so I got creative and boiled the leaves and stems with about three cups of sugar and three cups of water. Let it cool, strained it into a mason jar, and popped it in the fridge. Made a cocktail combining about 3 parts Basil Syrup to 2 parts Gin, and a squeeze of lime. Shake on ice, strain into a martini glass. It was sweet, but with enough tang and flavor to not be syrupy. I’m thinking about trying it in some pineapple juice next!

I need to decide what knitting project is going along to Mexico with me, and what the pattern should be. I want to do something lacey, maybe with some of the Handmaiden Sea Silk I have in my stash, and I want a pattern that’s visually entertaining but not mentally taxing, but not feather-and-fan, either. Hrmph. Suggestions?

Alrighty, that’s the report for today. Hope you’re staying cool, wherever you are, and your positives are greater than your irks!

Are You Always & Forever With Your Cell Phone Provider?

“Always and Forever” (LaFawnduh’s Song)
(by Kipland Ronald Dynamite)

Why do you love me?
Why do you need me?
Always and forever

We met in a chat room
Where love can fully bloom
Sure the World Wide Web is great
But you, you make me salivate

Yes I love technology
But not as much as you, you see
But I still love technology
Always and forever

Our love is like a flock of doves
Flying up to heav’n above
Always and forever
Always and forever

Yes, your love is truly great
Always and forever

Why do you need me?
Why do you love me?

I, like Cher once sang, am a half-breed, only of the nerd variety. I am a wannabe, I have some skills, but let’s face it, I can’t hack or code, so I’m just slightly elevated above a good Googler. And I love technology. Which, every time I even think that, makes me think of the wedding scene waaaay at the end, after the credits, of Napoleon Dynamite (lyrics above). Only right now, I hate it. So much so, I’m beginning to feel a little unabombery inside. Specifically, I hate my cell phone.

I was perfectly fine a month ago. I was getting sick with what would become bronchitis, but my attitude towards tech and gadgets was untouched. Shiny things! I love them! And then the wheel fell off my Motorola RIZR, and I tried to re-attach it, but instead rendered the wheel useless and immobilized. Awesome. Little did I know the cell phone wheel falling off would serve to be a huge metaphor for the following MONTH.

So, I look at my options, and basically, a cell phone company, say one that rhymes with G-Foible, as long as you are under their contract, they will let you tweeeest in the weeeeend. Even the option to upgrade my line while renewing my contract for another two years would result in paying a Shitton of Money for another phone. And of course, I’m looking at upgrades all the time. I’m not going to replace a nice phone with a bag phone. So I turn to …eBay. For an unlocked phone. Oh! It’s a Maurice Sendak novel of cell phone gadgetry! Yes! But you must read the fine print, and then continue to check what it would cost to buy a new one of the same model.

I buy a Motorola RAZR. I know. I should have asked someone first. Since I began screeching about my hatred, it’s like an entire underworld village of RAZR-HAYTRZ rose up through the dirt to answer my screams. First off, the language for text was defaulting to Italian, which took me a while to figure out how to fix that, but hey, I could handle it. I’m the Network Administrator for our home computer network, after all! Oh, and forget storing any sort of application on this thing, it has no memory. OH and did you want it to actually get reception outside of work and home? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Plus the bonus feature I didn’t even pay for: every time I plug it in to charge (which is often, since the fucker dies every 48 hours if I don’t), it changes the ring style. I plug it in, and on the tiny window appears something like this: “RING TONE CHANGED: LOUD.” And I spent every night trolling through forums, because I needed to set up all of the actual components so it would connect to G-Foible’s network. Like, inputting data addresses and setting features, things one normally has on a branded phone. Whatev, that’s small potatoes, and I even discovered later that the phone companies have it so you can message yourself with the data & apply it to the phone. OK. It still does not change the fact that I want to fling the phone against a wall or out the window, every. single. day. I hate it.

After going to the lake, and having no reception and no web access on my phone, I hit the wall myself. So I bought an unlocked Blackberry Pearl. Which I really liked. I even upgraded the web plan so I could make it into a work device – I had felt a little Short Bus Syndrome when we’d traveled on that wheel-fell-off-trip, because everyone else had iPhones and Blackberries and oh, Jennifer, you don’t check your work email on your phone? No. My phone has a wheel. It was like a caveman holding a torch while everyone skittered around with their GPS voice-activated gadgetry in sleek speed-skating suits. And I had thought the RAZR would be a step up, but instead was unwittingly rocketing back to 2004. Which, in techno-years, is like the Dark Ages.

So, the Pearl. Yes! I’m legit! Bona-fide. I switched to the data plan, and I call the Wo. “Hello?” he says. “Hello? Hello?” Hangs up. Mind you, I’m responding. He calls me back. “Hello? Hello?” Heeeeey. The microphone doesn’t work. I abuse several co-workers with testing different options. Back to the forums. Perhaps a software update is needed. Okey-dokey. I attach the phone to the computer with the cable. Nothing. I try another cable. Nothing. I try a third cable. Nothing. I plug the cable into the RAZR. (Microsoft has detected your dumb ass phone from a previous century! Where’s the software? On a 3.5″ floppy you say?) WTH.

I email the seller, they have no solution except to return it. Back it went today. I’m still using my Supah-Dupah Fly RAZR, but now I have to revert the data plan back to my G-Zones (cheaper) web plan. Ah, no, you naive stupid girl. “We don’t offer that any more.”

HUH? I had it on TUESDAY.

“Once you remove it, it’s gone, we have a new product now.” That costs $4 more a month for the same damned thing. (Oh and includes some text messaging, which I don’t really do, instead paying $0.20 per, anytime I simply must receive or send one.)

OMG. Head! Exploding! I disconnect from the online CSR, and call. They immediately put G-Zones back on my phone. But cannot offer me any sort of good deal on a phone to replace my ghetto-blaster techno-sploitation travesty I’m stuck with. My phone is beginning to resemble Ron Jeremy, only without any residual coolness. I have to wait 10 months. (And seriously, the price difference between upgrade with no contract extension and with one is negligible.) For the first time in 10 years (or however long it’s been, it’s been at least that), I’m seriously going to look at options once this contract shit is up.

So. All the drama, and swearing, and pain aside. What really gets me is that the business model for cell phones has absolutely nothing to do with rewarding loyalty. Marketing departments sit around all the time, trying to figure out how to keep and retain consumers, how do we get someone to be a brand advocate, so dedicated to our product or service that they’ll never switch. And I get it, you have a contract, which represents $X and the penalties for breaking the contract somehow translates to permission to just leave that customer alone until it’s time to revisit the contract. Sure, every time I’ve called T-Mobile (because really, did G-Foible fool you?), I’ve been thanked profusely for being such a loyal and long-time customer. But when I ask a CSR to fix a problem and they say no, no and no again, even in the face of me saying “I will leave over this the minute I can,” why do I have to make the next round of effort (and escalate it) to repair that business relationship? Honestly, had T-Mobile offered me a solution, like a Blackberry for $100-$150, I would have kept the upgraded data plan, signed up for another two years, and been happy as a clam. (I even asked! “NO.”) Now I’m just bitter.

I guess the answer is that there’s so much churn, they don’t bother to care about loyalty. Because in the end, I’m just a number, nothing more. I guess it’s a good thing I can now take that number with me, wherever I go. Until then, I’ll be wearing my RAZR around my neck, like the albatross it is….

Douchebaggery…..

I have a short list of things that – just in the space of today – have made me utter or think the word “Douchebag”.

1. Waiting until you are at or near a complete stop to signal your turn. Hi. The rest of us are actually paying attention? And you are inconveniencing us. Especially if we don’t want to turn in front of you in your Beemer as you slowly approach the intersection, but oh, I see, it’s because you’re on your phone and drinking a coffee, so I get it, your HANDS WEREN’T FREE to turn the signal on. Fuck you. And you, the other one, in front of me later today, careening all over the place, unsure of where to turn.You are not the only one out here!

2. Leaving someone no room to get out of a parallel parking spot. Here’s how I know (this was once again, a Beemer, but I will not jump to conclusions): the big ol’ Land Rover was there when I parked. We had lots of distance between us, but you chose to kiss my bumper and leave him three feet. Fuck you. I hope the next time you’re at the grocery store, someone parks so close to you, you have to get in from the passenger side. Careful not to slip when you go over the gear shift!

3. When someone has nearly finished Austin-Powering her way out of a tiny fucking parking spot, just keep zooming around her so she can’t complete the extrication, despite having half a front end of a Murano sitting out in traffic. Interesting Trivia: if you slow down and read her lips, she’s screaming “Fuck you! And you! And you, too!” Please note, she smiles and waves if you let her in.

4. This douchebag takes the cake and the crown from all the bad drivers & parkers I encountered today. He makes me physically sick to my stomach. People want him to get the death penalty? But I think someone like him should go away to a little cinderblock cell that he’ll share with someone he’ll have to call “Mr. Sweetums” for the next 30-50 years.  Douche. Bag.

This has been your public service message, you may resume your regularly scheduled knitting, working, happy houring or sleeping. Thank you.

The Curse of Auto-Pay

If I didn’t use auto-pay for the majority of our bills, I’d be in a constant state of scramble, and probably missing payments, garnering late fees and angry phone calls. As it is, the things that still get paid ‘manually’ require a little reminder in my calendar, so my palm pilot will dee-doo dee-doo at me until I pay attention.

So, imagine my surprise when, I go into my Time Warner Cable account to get the account number, so I get our holiday movie credited back (via a coupon), and I see our last payment was, oh, like, $75 more than we normally pay. A rate hike of 60%. ooooooooh my god, talk about a short fuse. See, I spent over a week, wrangling and hassling with Time Warner Cable last year, because we were being plagued with programs being deleted on the DVR, annnnd they raised our rates. I was fractions of inches away from going to DirecTV.  So, they gave me a nice rate. Great. I think a rate hike, when you’re pretty much the only game in town, in an economic downturn, is pretty shitty, but I understand cost of living needs, etc., so I would have even been willing to accept a 5% increase. NOT 60%. NOT when I can put together my bundle of services as if I were a new customer and have a rate plan LOWER than what I pay now. No, no, and NO.

And of course, they no longer have CSR agents available later in the evening, so I have to re-stoke the coals in the morning until I’ve hit white-hot again. But I’m going to utilize my resources, and see if I can skip the first tier of CSRs and get myself some elevated service. And if that doesn’t work out? Well, I guess we’ll be discovering the exciting world of satellite!

I hate having to go to bed on an empty, unresolved anger. Splutter. Stay tuned for the next chapter! It’ll be broadcast in digital!

Random Orts!

1. I have a post-election hangover. I’m happy, I’m overwhelmed – I feel like our team worked really really hard and our prize came with a big ol’ dumpster out back we have to clean up and empty out. And there might be dead bodies in it. Great! Let me just get my mask on.

2. I swear, it’s not Political Random Orts! But, if I never hear a peep about Sarah Palin, ever again, I will be happy. She makes me crazier than Phill Kline ever did.  And I don’t give a rat’s ass what she does next, as long as she does it far, far, far away from me and the political future. Mmkay? Because all these newshounds egging her to run for President makes me want to start shopping for a new home. In Ireland. Or the Gaza Strip. Actually, I expressed such sentiments to an old friend of mine & she just replied, “I’ve always wanted to move to Mexico and teach my kitties how to make jewelry!” I wonder how well Polly would do with a soldering iron. We could make sculptures!

3. I have tomorrow off. I’ve already put a bunch of errands and to-do’s on my list, so it doesn’t feel like loads of fun, but that’s ok. It makes for a longer weekend, and I can do things at my own pace. And believe me, my laundry looks like a marathon right now!

4. Sleep. I have been hungover from Daylight Savings Time as well. It seems like we used to cherish the extra hour (and I do, really), and feel refreshed – but I find myself toddling off to bed at insanely early hours.. perhaps it’s that election hangover contributing to the problem?

5. Knitting. There simply has to be more knitting. There we go. It has been decreed.

6. Angie’s List. I responded to a general Twitter question this morning with a positive response, and within two hours, got a notice they’re following me now. Way to go, social media. I love it! I also need a new housekeeper. Sigh.

7. The Shield. I LOVE THIS SHOW. OMG. You all are well-aware of the heartthrob status Michael Chiklis holds in my life, but I am giving some serious, serious props to Walt Goggins, for some phenomenal, Emmy-worthy acting. He portrays evil, desperation, with shiny bits of barely-sympathy-evoking humanity and I am astonished each week by just how damned good he is. I am also freaked out about how this series and season may end. Only three episodes left! Garsh.

8. Breakfast for dinner. It’s just the greatest, isn’t it? It’s what we’re having tonight, and I must confess, the hashbrowns are my favorite part. 🙂  (I impulse-purchased some dried ones at CostCo & they’ve turned out to be one of the greatest things ever!) And let’s hope I can stay up past 9:00.

peace out, home fries.

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