Saturday, March 31, 2007
I'm now working on Disney War and having trouble putting it down. I'm to the point now where you feel sorry for everyone and realize just what kind of good they did for Disney in the early days.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Because they came within the 30 days of the first account being opened, Cingular's treating it like the original account wasn't closed. So we pay the outstanding bill, get a credit back for the days the service was cancelled -- when FedExTurtle finally delivered the phones to StinkFly, rather than when we sent them or even when we let them know we were sending them or when the phone stopped working. Then the new service starts on the first, so we do get a few free days. Whatever. Just so long as the Wirefly mess is all behind us.
Of course, even Amazon couldn't get the area code right and shipped 206's. Is this a sign? Should we move to The City? Sadly, they were out of good numbers so our numbers are nowhere near each other. E-mail me for the new number.
So to figure out the billing and get the numbers changed, that's #1 and #2 for the new round.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
5:30 am... music. snooze. cha-chunk. whirrrrrrr..... silence. Barely a chance to wake up and BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP. Yes, that's right, Puget Sound Energy dropped us off grid again. Forced energy conservation. Great. Now my clock radio (backup battery.. brilliant and painful) and the security alarm are letting us know simultaneously that I need to get up and that the power is out. The houses behind us who we thought were on Tacoma City were dark and and in the other direction didn't see lights until SeaTac, but it was still early.
Showered in the dark, that's cool. Stumbled around in the dark knocking stuff over. Cut myself some banana bread in the kitchen. Went down and rode the exercise bike. No lights, no Squawk Box, no WiFi. So I sat in the dark riding and playing, ironically, Minesweeper. Which I suck at and could not play for days and days.
Got dressed, manually opened both garages and put the cars in the drive and then headed out. Up to the FW/Tacoma intersection and the gas station has power. The last outage told me to fill the car's gas tank immediately. No wallet. So, on to work. Remember that there's at least food in my cube so I'll have lunch. (Didn't bring lunch - last outage told me not to open the refrigerator if I didn't need to.)
Despite my efforts to be a calmer driver, I did have to honk and flash my lights at someone. Even though it did no good. It was an impromptu 4-way on a dead red and she was refusing to get up there and take her turn. She should have stayed home.
I hear on the radio that it's localized to 10,000 homes along the arterial I'll be taking. So I cut over and drive through as many parking lots as I can, skipping a lot of 4-ways. Was great, though in retrospect, should one race through empty parking lots without one's wallet? Eh.
Get to work and realize that the stupid health screening is today for the health insurance and we weren't supposed to eat for 8 hours before. Today would have been the perfect day to do that. I should have just gone up and had it done anyway, then I would have looked really good at my follow-up. But I know they'd ask and I don't want to lie. I also don't want to go 8 hours without eating which is somewhat of a sad thing to say when I work here where despite our efforts and all the resources of our wonderful donors children still die at a rate of 4 a minute in Africa due to a lack of food or clean water.
So now I need to resched.
I tried to just vent on Twitter and get it out of my system but all it did was wipe out my post from last night. It's being a jerk today.
Well, I guess at this point there's nothing to do but go grab a nice hot cup of coffee and smile at it.
Bright spot... Amazon now say "March 27-April 30" as the estimated delivery date for our new new cell phones and gave us a DHL tracking code. DHL says today.
Monday, March 26, 2007
But I decided there's no reason for anyone else to tick me off. They can drive however they want, but it shouldn't affect me. I'm not in a hurry to anywhere and I'm not late. I don't mean to suggest I'm going to start driving slow, but it does mean I need to leave a little more room between me and the car in front of me.
This has mostly worked the past few days. Sadly, this evening it didn't and I'm embarassed. First was a car that came up to the turn lane in front of me. It had just missed the protected green, but it failed to pull into the intersection to take the free. It finally did pull in, but then just sat there, finally doing nothing as the light turned to yellow and then red. I flashed my lights at them. They just sat there as the cars made wide turns around her. doo doo doo doo doo.
A little while later she ended up behind me for about half a mile. Possibly grumbling about the jerk with the Jesus fish and Calvin cross on the back bumper.
A few blocks later, I passed a semi who couldn't stay in his lane and I honked as I passed, driving on the center bumps. He eventually ended up behind me at a stop light. And again I grumbled at myself.
Well, hopefully I can learn from it.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
You see, my goal had been to sit down and for 30 minutes, do absolutely nothing. If I feel asleep, cool. If I zoned out and watched the rain, cool. If I had a brilliant idea and figured out what comes after the internet, cool.
But I forgot to sit down and do nothing. Perhaps next weekend.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
I'm also looking forward to Thank God You're Here. The premise has a lot of promise. An established actor (and the promos have shown many) is dressed into a costume and then walks through a door onto a stage in front of a live studio audience. They have no idea what's on the stage, or even who. Someone on stage will utter the catchphrase "Thank God You're Here!" and then the scene will progress. Has so much promise.
In other news, I've finally uploaded February and March photos to Flickr. As always, you'll need to sign in for most of the shots of people.
Beloved art professor dies at 59
December 08, 2006
Former PLU art professor Lawrence Gold passed away from complications from a recent stroke on Dec. 1. He was 59 years old.
Gold joined the PLU faculty in 1984. Following minor heart surgery in 2002, he suffered a stroke and remained on medical and other leaves until his formal retirement last May.
He was born in Chicago, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University in 1971 and a master’s in fine arts from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1976. While living in Madison, Gold was a singer-songwriter.
Gold was a gifted and popular teacher who was energized by student learning. He continued to visit campus, and team taught courses even after his medical leave began in 2002.
He was active in PLU’s Center for Teaching and Learning and had a keen interest in "relational pedagogy." His teaching took him beyond the art department, and included team teaching with a number of colleagues in the international core. His interest in global education led to the development of two successful study away programs in Findhorn, Scotland, and Crystal Waters, Australia.
John Hallam, chair of the art department, characterized Gold’s art works as diverse, bridging design, sculpture and painting. In addition to PLU University Gallery showings, Gold’s work was shown at the Tacoma Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle, American Art Company in Tacoma and the Blue Heron Art Center on Vashon Island.
Gold is survived by his wife, Lisa Queen ’00, and a brother. A private remembrance was held, and cards may be sent through the president’s office.
Had a class with Professor Gold my sophomore year. He was a really cool guy, artistic, flair, ponytail and all, but not a suffering artist. In addition to his professorship at PLU, he also designed product containers for other companies. One of the things he told us early on is one of my favorite pieces of trivia. For most of the world, the overall favorite color is blue. Except in the middle East and Africa, where the favorite color is green because of little vegetation there is.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
365 Guy - Feels his life is boring, so he decided at the beginning of the year to shake things up.
Dark Food - Completely pitch-black unlit restaurant employing blind waitstaff. Way to be empowering.
Dire-fly - My Wirefly review on Epinions.
Twitter Vision - a nearly real-time look at twits as tweets make them.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
PART 1 - ORIGINAL E-MAIL
> -----Original Message-----
> From: --------
> Sent: Mar 17, 2007 5:20:20 PM
> Subject: Amazon Promo Center Email
> First Name:
> Last Name: -------
> Email: -------
> Zip Code: --------
> Phone: ---------
> Rebate For: MOTOROLA RAZR V3I PHONE (CINGULAR)
> Comments: We canceled the order and return the phones to Wirefly. (One
> was defective and they don't do exchanges.) We've repurchased the phones
> through Amazon.com instead and so ------ isn't a valid request
> anymore. Sorry for the hassle.
> Tracking Number: ------
PART 2 - THEIR FIRST RESPONSE
On 3/19/07, Amazon Rebates
> Dear ------------: Tracking number: ------------
> Thank you for your rebate inquiry. We are pleased to inform you that your
> submission has been received, and it is in the final stages of validation.
> Once we have verified that you have maintained your service for 90 days, the
> rebate should be mailed within 30 days.
> We appreciate your participation in this promotion. If there is anything
> else we can do to assist you, please contact us at
> firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to help.
> You can also track the status of your rebate, using the Tracking number
> above, at www.rebateshq.com/amazon-rebates.
> Promotions Customer Services
Sent: Mar 19, 2007 10:30:01 PM
Subject: Re: Amazon Promo Center Email (#----------)
Hi, actually, if you'll re-read my original e-mail, we've canceled the order
and returned the phones to Wirefly. We no longer qualify for the rebate.
Just wanted to let you know so you could cancel the refund request.
Thank you for your rebate inquiry. Your rebate is in the final stages of validation. Once we have verification of your purchase/service, the rebate should be mailed within 30 days. Generally, verification takes no more than 14 days, but sometime it can take up to 30 days.
We appreciate your participation in this promotion. If there is anything else we can do to assist you, please contact us at email@example.com. We are always happy to help.
You can also track the status of your rebate, using the Tracking number above, at www.rebateshq.com/amazon-rebates.
Promotions Customer Services
Here's one I found particularly interesting... One profound quote from it: "All the salvation of the world requires is the intelligent pursuit of self-interest."
I've also been listening to Relevant Magazine's podcast. They have Dan Hill, a pastor from Santa Cruz on it. He's coming out with a set of books "They Like Jesus, But They Hate Church" (for church leaders) and "We Like Jesus, But We Hate Church" (for everyone else). Sounds interesting. Basically he said that his research showed that people are really spiritual, hungry, and accepting of the message of Jesus. But so much of their view of pastors and church are fed by the bad examples in the media. And that churches have focussed so much on "community" that it's become closed to those who aren't in the church and that people are now afraid to associate with and/or share the message with those outside their circle of comfort and security. Really interesting.
And then you can't forget the Lost podcast from last week... was with the woman who takes the scripts and has to figure out how to shoot them... what settings they'll need, what kinds of technical stuff (like 17 dump trucks full of shaved ice to turn a street in Hawaii to a street in New York in the dead of winter) or an abandoned military post in Hawaii into an active military post in the middle of Iraq.
And also, I recommend the Scrubs podcasts. They stick together two people from the show (cast and crew) and they talk while watching an episode. Really fun stuff, some great insight and you get to hear the actors in a new light. I swear, it would just be awesome to have Ken Jenkins -- who plays Dr. Kelso -- over for a Scrubs marathon. He is like the nicest guy and he just laughs so hard and earnestly at stuff.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Live TV App For Your Google Start Page
Braincast (Beta) - Call in, it records a message and then e-mails it to you. Handy.
Download YouTube Videos - watching a video you'd like to download? Easy. Just go up and change the URL of the website you're viewing. For example, change
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Turns out that evil, clueless, stupid Wirefly doesn't do exchanges on broken merchandise. You get two choices... one - send the Razr to Motorola for repair... two - cancel the entire order with Wirefly: send the phones back, cancel the contract with Cingular. (And they added "And then place a new order.")
Place a new order indeed. Turns out that I made a mistake (sort of) in the first place. But it's entirely understandable. I don't like how Amazon also lists other people's products co-mingled with their own. Had I known the phones were available from Amazon directly and from Wirefly, I would have definitely gone directly to Amazon.
And browsing around their site, I was able to get it to show up with both Amazon and Wirefly (and Wirefly was more prominent) as well as showing only Wirefly - no mention of Amazon.
So, the phones are slowly trudging their way back to Maryland on FedEx Ground. And a new order's been placed with Amazon. Of course, they're out of stock with Amazon. So we could be without cell phones for as much as a month.
Seriously, though, what is Amazon.com doing working with a company as awful as Inphonic aka Wirefly? They were actually kicked out of the Better Business Bureau, I've now found. As of today, they have 2,187 complaints in the last 12 months (3,472 complaints in the past 36 months).
Do a search on "Wirefly Sucks" on Google to find all kinds of stuff about this company.
Anywhere you see the "Powered by InPhonic" you should know you're in trouble... they've got a boiler room in India full of people with accents so thick you can't understand them doing their best to separate you from your money at any and all costs. I used to believe they were just merely incompetent or that their phone jockeys were just poorly trained, but I'm now convinced the whole point of InPhonic/Wirefly/etc. is just to rip you off. They're nothing but a bunch of crooks.
I guess it's no wonder that Sprint, AOL and United Airlines all have cell phone stores run by InPhonic. You can't get a more ringing endorsement of pure evil than this trio. Actually you can... the really dangerous online arm of Amway (Quixtar or Quixar or Ishtar or whatever it's called) is also powered by InPhonic.
I'm hoping (praying to God, actually) that this saga is drawing to a close. I'm hoping that the phones go back, I call Cingular and give them the FedEx tracking number so they can see the phones were returned and the account gets canceled.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
I wonder if broadcast television holds a useful parallel. They say that The Cosby Show was one of the last times that America all watched television together. There's actually one later show and I can't remember which one it was, know that it was embarrassing to all of us humans. But up until that point, there was a general consciousness and pulse and you could bet that if there was something on the night before, there was a very good chance that nearly everyone saw the same thing. But as cable became available and grew and started offering watchable alternatives, the audience fragmented. But there were fewer eyes for each thing. And it became much harder to find quality, harder to get your product into people's minds.
And now radio/music's heading down the same path. We don't just have the three AM stations in town to listen to, we have CDs, satellite radio, HD Radio, lots of regular radio stations, iTunes / Napster / Wal*Mart / Rhapsody, LaunchCast and so on and so on. How's an artist to get noticed and gain a following? It's gotta be even harder, since you can't say "Tune in every Thursday at 8 pm to hear a new song from me."
To be sure, the bigger artists backed by the studios will continue to thrive, but as choice becomes more ingrained, the masses will be less and less receptive to the same regurgitated and force-fed tripe that the studios put all their weight behind.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
March 12 I got a promotion. I'm in the newly created "Project Manager" position. Until they find someone to fill my current spot, the promotion is large a title and pay change but not a duties change. But I can sense that's gonna change. My boss is being asked to consult more and more at the international level and he's embarking on a organization-sponsored Masters program, so he's going to be gone a lot and needs me to be able to step up.
Coolness. Bring it on.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Now I don't know if there are some businesses with more lenient terms and bills that fluxuate more, but I get a pretty standard bill every three months and I have the oh-so-gracious net-10 billing cycle. So there's no reason for me to put in a maximum charge because the box was too small to type "The amount on my bill." So I left it blank. Everything went through fine, no error messages, no indication that I hadn't filled out something that I should have.
It occured to me the other day, looking at Money that it had been awhile since I had gotten charged for garbage service, like four months. So I went online and looked at my bill. It had been due just about a month earlier. I e-mailed them asking what the deal was. A day or two later I got a "delinquent notice" in the mail. So I called this morning and found out that because I hadn't put anything in the maximum field, they hadn't charged my card.
And still no response to the e-mail I submitted last week.
Saturday night I was playing around and signed into Cingular's website. It showed what I currently owed, and listed all four phone numbers, each with a charge listed next to it. I used the Contact Us (#4) form to contact them and asked what the charges were. I got a nice e-mail back today explaining the charges, but it wasn't enough information to be helpful. So I called Cingular (#5) and the woman who looked at my bill said that they were number change charges and because the mistake wasn't Cingular's, there wasn't anything they could do about it. So I asked to speak to a manager.
I was transferred and got the voicemail of someone. So I explained everything again and am now waiting for the promised call back.
Everyone I've talked to at Cingular (with maybe the exception of #5) has been super-polite and helpful, but it's kind of annoying to feel like I've been ripped off for $62+taxes on phones we've had less than a week is a little frustrating. Hopefully the woman whose voicemail I got will
understand and do right.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
The second (and more legitimate) complaint is for poor make-up or the lack of special effects when special-effects are clearly called for. Grant's character is supposed to be a has-been. Part of a wildly famous pop group, he's now a slightly older has-been who performs at fairs and class reunions. But there's a well-done (aka fabulously bad) music video from his heyday you see from time-to-time. They did not do nearly enough to youthify Grant's appearance.
Otherwise, movie was fine and nice and implausible and feel-good.
Oddly, the movie was originally going to be called "Music and Lyics By" which makes more sense but is a worse title. I wonder if more of the music vs. lyrics interplay was cut, from time-to-time the writing seemed to have a High Fidelity-like reverence the part each plays in a song.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Friday, March 09, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Or is it just making sure the world has access to the thoughts in your head too insignificant to even warrant a blog post?
Anyhow, I guess there's a couple components to it. There's the "public timeline" on their website that shows the past 20(? too lazy to count) posts from everyone, and then there's the personal list that shows all of a particular person's posts (twits?), and then you can also connect with other people and see what they're up to. You can even go so far as to post your twits and your friend's twits (would an annoying friend's be "twit's twits"?) wherever, like MySpace or Blogspot or whatever.
So, remains to be seen really what the point of it all is, but I'm trying it out. If you're a regular reader and you start your own twitlist, send me an invite so I can connect with you.
For now, it's got a quasi-permanent placement on the right navbar, but here's a copy right here in this post just because. Wonder if it will break it, trying to show two on the same page. We shall see.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Oh... I have a new cell phone number. Look for it at the bottom of my e-mails. My e-mail address is also semi-new, but the old one rolls into the new one.
Ok, so we threw all the tea in the harbor because we were getting taxed without representation, right? So is it at all ironic that whenever someone says "tea" you think of "Lipton" which is a Dutch brand?
In January of 2006, I renewed my tabs. We moved in March. It pained me to pay a full year when I knew I was moving, but I wanted to stay legal and there's no such thing as a partial payment.
In March of 2006, we moved. Lori received a notice of renewal, forwarded to our new address. We checked the box "Moved out of State" and wrote down "Washington." I'm not sure we provided them with our new address. We also noted that it applied to my car, including license plate number and VIN.
In June of 2006, Lori got the "Notice of Delinquent Renewal" with assessed penalties and the bill for Planned Nonoperation and threats of collection. She called and went around and around on the phone with them, again also mentioning my car. Ultimately she had to mail in a statement to the fact that the cars had been registered in another state and provide proof of that registration.
In August, we started receiving political advertisements at our Washington state address. By the buckets. Several a day. They went on until a week or two after the elections.
In January of 2007, I got a renewal notice for my car. I checked the box "Moved out of State" and wrote down "Washington" and returned the form.
This week, I got the "Notice of Delinquent Renewal" with assessed penalties, threats of collections, etc., etc., etc. I called the 1-800 number. It doesn't take too many keypresses to get to the operator, but if they're not on duty yet, it just asks you to call back during normal business hours without actually informing you as to what those hours are. I finally talked to someone who demanded a faxed copy of my registration without letting me finish my story in the first place.
I sat and fumed for awhile and then called back. As soon as I was connected, I asked to speak to a supervisor. He said "Supervisor... hmm... what did you need?" I sighed and began to explain it to him. After awhile he said "Hang on a second." and set the phone down on this desk noisily. It was quiet for awhile, then I heard a printer, then it was quiet again. Then he picked up and said "I found someone." After more silence, Gloria picked up. I asked her how much the operator had told her. She said that he had handed her the printout and then she asked me to again give my license plate number and details to confirm I was me.
I told my story again and she explained that there was nothing she could do because I was talking to the "Campbell office" and I had sent the form to the "Sacramento office." and that she was willing to help me clear this up. I explained (again) that I understood all that but was trying to communicate that there was a larger problem, that someone who was processing renewal forms wasn't doing their job. She again explained that she was in the "Campbell office" and not the "Sacramento office." I tried to explain that maybe she could tell someone. She offered to give me a 916-area-code phone number so I could call the "Sacramento office" with my concern.
In the end, she offered that I could mail it to her if I didn't want to fax it. I liked that idea much better because I figured she would be more likely to get it and that I trust the US Postal Service more than whoever happens to walk by the fax machine in the Campbell office. ("like the soup!" she said, as a way of avoiding spelling it. I bet she wishes the street name was spelled "Daryl" so she could have said "Like the movie!")
We're government. We don't have to be smart, efficient, or customer-centric. Thankfully, government is one arena I've never been employed by and hopefully never will.
Will we have to go through all this again in 4 years when our California drivers licenses expire?
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Black Dog (c) Tim Easton
Black dog in the warm sunshine
Looks like she's lost her mind
Why don't we call her back
She can't go on like that
We're standin' in the doorway now
Wondering how black dog got out
If she could only hear me
Black dog might come back again
Black dog will you come around
Black dog won't you lay yourself down
She can run and she can play
Black dog likes to get away
She can bark and she can bite
Black dog keeps you up at night
Neighbors are getting tired
Black dog is in their yard
In your fence a time or two
Before you have to start anew
Black dog will you come around
Black dog won't you lay yourself down
Black dog will run again
Because she's not listening
Sun is settin' on her face
Black dog's wondered far away
I wanna see your face
When they put black dog in place
You say it can't be done
But tomorrow won't be long
Black dog will you come around
Black dog won't you lay yourself down
Black dog will you come around
Black dog when will you lay yourself down
Monday, March 05, 2007
My goals for the year...
Post In My Blog More Frequently - Check.
Artistic Photos - I feel I failed on this count this month. The computer was moved into the kitchen during painting and the printer wasn't connected. Busy.
Lots of Reading - I am failing miserably on this front. I'm working on The Experience Economy. It's good, but there's a lot to think about and I haven't had much time.
More social - I'm still not sure on this one. I've been trying to walk around the office and talk to people and rely less on e-mail. I'm even using *gasp* the phone more.
Diet will return - I'm really disappointed in this month. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I seem to be stuck.
Less Busy - Certainly failed here. I'm actually more busy.
Bigger Help Around The House - I've been inconsistent this month. I've taken over the vacuuming duties and I was doing the laundry, but our hot water heater's been having problems so we've been having to do the laundry during the day.
Make It To The City Monthly - Yep, I was up there at least twice. We went to Westlake Mall and Seattle Center for my birthday and then I was back up there for a conference. I think we might be going up there this weekend, too.
New Restaurant Each Month - I don't think we did this in February unless you count the mall food court on my birthday. I need to pick one for February.
Same Restaurants Less - No.
Send Lori More Flowers - Did not send flowers or bring home flowers this month. How sad.
Don't waste time on the computer or doing chores when spending time with Rachel - Yes and no. I did the taxes one night while watching Rachel. But they had to be done. But now they're done. The other night she and I went to Home Depot. There was stuff to buy, but I think she had fun.
Get finances under control - Yep, did that. Spent less than we made. Woo. Not counting tax refunds.
Talk to family more frequently - Did not happen. I will have to refer to this throughout the month so that I'm reminded because I haven't looked at this since last month, unfortunately.
Declutter - Yes, moving forward on that.
Enjoy the view out my bedroom window more - I guess...? That's what I said last month.
Appreciate the beauty of nature more - Check
While well-cast, the great concept just didn't play out well. I believe it was intentionally mis-marketed to try to make up for some failings. That is, that isn't as funny as it wants to be, as dramatic as it wants to be, and certainly not as daring. There were some really funny moments, some rather interesting graphical effects, a very cool watch, and at some points, some good writing that calls to mind Douglas Adams. But overall, it was predictable and disappointing. It could have been so much more.
Orange Chicken would be a better choice.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Saturday, March 03, 2007
I'm just saying...
Stupid dot com bubble.
In other news, my new phone isn't here yet. It started in Maryland and has since arrived in and left Indianapolis. Which means it's not going to arrive today, it's going to arrive on Monday or Tuesday. Which means Lori will be the one to receive the package from the FedEx guy. Not that I think they're turned on, but I thought it would be really awesome to call the phone from the house while the guy's coming up the steps, just in case they are turned on. So it would be kind of like The Matrix.
Stupid Fed Ex. Stupid Wirefly. Stupid Amazon. Stupid Cingular. Stupid everyone - involved - with - the - second - and - third - Matrix - movies.
P.S. Honestly, not as grumpy as this post makes it seem. Just a little bit tired and cold and hungry and without my new toy.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Thursday, March 01, 2007