madbaker: (scary clown)
I had dinner last night with a friend who I hadn't seen in a couple years. Good pizza and chattage. It meant I got home around 10 PM, and I'm feeling that lack of sleep today. But I don't do this sort of thing very often and it was good to catch up.

The pizza was at a small chain called Blue Line. It's got an elevated train as its logo. I overheard the couple next to us asking each other if it was a BART train. Yes, that's right -- it has nothing to do with serving Chicago-style deep-dish pizza and the Blue Line being a Chicago train. Nope. BART's trains were originally blue with red accents (hence the original name, "Blue And Red Trains") and this is a homage to that forgotten bit of Bay Area history.

...I forbore to interject this into their conversation in a withering tone, but it was a close thing. Though I did not manage to forestall an eyeroll.

I had an odd dream that I, unusually, remembered: civilization was broken because the structure of the universe had been irreparably damaged by time travel. Apparently traveling to the future caused time rips or something, but because civilization had collapsed due to these rips, we made very short time trips to the future to collect resources so we could muddle along. Of course, the daughter of the protagonist, feeling like she could be a hero, made a long trip to the future to collect a huge amount of resources... and this was the cause and reason that the time rips had broken the structure of the universe. Closed loop. Which is how I like my time travel plots, so it's nice that my subconscious cooperated.

madbaker: (demons of stupidity)
Me: "I'm going down the street to a box-lunch place."
Puzzled cow-orker: "What's that?"
Me (non-plussed): "It's a place... that sells lunches... in boxes."

madbaker: (Nubian?)
My dad gave me a B&N virtual gift card to download things to my Nook. My dad gave us a Nook some years back, which we promptly returned for actual books. I do have an iPad from work now; occasionally I download books from the library, but I feel no need to pay money for things I plan to read once (even electronically). I have a conference I am attending in Florida in February, and I thought hey - there are a couple e-books I wanted to read, so what the heck. I'll use the gift card to buy those, and because it's a gift I won't care if I delete them afterwards.* This will allow me to carry less stuff.

However.
Trying to redeem the gift card took me to their website where I logged on. It then told me I was using the wrong e-mail. I tried logging on with that one and... it's not a valid account.
I finally braced myself to deal with their customer service - and after some runaround with the rep going by script rather than communicating with what I said, was told that they have to refund the gift card. And have my dad then re-purchase it with the e-mail logon I use with them once it clears.

Making prospective customers jump through multiple hoops just to spend money is a guaranteed way to lose said prospective customers.


* I first typed "afterwords", which is vaguely amusing and not totally wrong.

madbaker: (brains!)
Why, why do I ever listen to migraine-brain when it insists it knows better than pain-free brain?

madbaker: (demons of stupidity)
Ten days after getting the new monitor setup for my home office, one of them started frizzing out. I spent about 45 minutes on the phone with Dell tech support, but generally had no complaints as they promised to send a replacement and I would ship the defective one back. I was clever and had them ship it to our home rather than the office this time, because trying to take a ginormous box of expensive, fragile electronics home on public transit is not the best idea for several reasons.

They promised to ship it within three business days. This would work out well - it would arrive before we left for Oregon the following Friday, and there would be time to get everything set up before working from home today.

However. Dell's business model is apparently predicated on making service so painful that you hang up in disgust without using it.

They never sent me a confirmation with the tracking information. I called Wednesday (three business days later). I spent an hour getting transferred four times (!), eventually ending up back at the original number I actually dialed. All to get one e-mail that perhaps took the foreign tech ten seconds to send. It showed that the delivery was scheduled for Thursday. Was that so hard?

...Except that they completely ignored everything I had said in the original call and sent it to our office. Where I actually was on Thursday, but because no one else was there I didn't have the front door unlocked for the delivery guy to come in. And I can't hear tentative knocking, so they left a sticker on the door and went away. I called FedEx and they assured me they'd re-deliver on Friday. Which, may I remind you, was July 4 - a financial holiday on which the markets and our company were closed. "No problem," said FedEx. "We have a special delivery set up." Um, you're missing the point. No one will be in the office. And because I was taking Monday off (as was a cow-orker) no one would be in Monday either. Which meant that they would unsuccessfully deliver three times, and then ship it back to Dell. Whereupon I would have to spend more hours getting transferred and on hold to get my damn working monitor.

So I called Thursday evening. Three transfers and 45 more wasted minutes (along with a tech hanging up on me!) later, the tech promised to contact FedEx and not have it delivered Friday. I reiterated my desire to have it delivered to our home address as originally promised, and gave them the information once again.

Monday we hadn't gotten a delivery, and while one of us was staying home we potentially needed to go out. So I checked the tracking number... and of course they had delivered it to the office. Fortunately an officemate was there and signed, but aargh.

So Wednesday I drove in to pick up the monitor and send it home with the wife. That evening I set it up and got it working. All done. Ready to package up the defective one and send it back.

Except that Dell has not sent any information about that. No packing slip, no packaging, nothing. I searched through everything. I steeled myself for another hour of hold music and forced transfers. And then... I thought better of it. I had an e-mail from one of the techs informing me that the ticket was closed as they had sent the replacement. I e-mailed him back stating that I would not be wasting any more of my time on this issue, and unless Dell contacted me with information to send back the defective monitor, I was not going to do anything.

Screw you, Dell. I will have no more contact with you ever again if I can help it.

madbaker: (disgruntled clown)
Yes, I keep using that header. Sadly, it continues to be apropos.
I discovered yesterday that someone had wrenched my rear-window wiper off. And then dumped it right by the driver's door, where I'd be sure to find it. Ha ha, jerkface.

Second time that's happened. The joys of parking on the street where douchewaffles walk by.

madbaker: (demons of stupidity)
Why is it so bloody difficult to find black dress shoelaces?
Go to a grocery store. They only have sport laces. Go to a different store. They don't have the right length/color.
Go to a drugstore. They are out. Go to a different drugstore. They only have white and brown.
Go to a department store. Find the shoe section. "Oh, we sold out of those. We're low on stock."
Go to a different one. Find the shoe section. "We don't sell shoelaces."
Find a shoe store. They only carry tennis shoes.

madbaker: (Robin)
The car is back. Apparently we paid for Lo-Jack when we bought it, so 45 minutes after the police came by and filed the report, they located the car. Dumped in the Bayview (shocker!), which is a crappy neighborhood a mile+ away.

The damage I can see: broken window, obviously. That's being fixed today. A few new bumper scrapes on both sides because clearly they cared about driving this carefully. [sarcasm] Those will be fixed Monday. I was honest and didn't attribute the huge bumper dent from a few years back to the joyride. I'll ask the body shop to fix that but at our expense. They smoked and left some cigarette butts in the ashtray. How kind of them to use it! [sarcasm] So I'll need to get the car cleaned, also for the psychological "get the invaders' presence out".

I haven't done a complete inventory, but my prescription sunglasses are still there as is the Fastrak. The wife pointed out something I'd missed though: they took the Edward Gorey bean-bat that was on my dash.

This is something she gave me quite a few years ago. I've always had a bat in my car dating back to high school, when we did a very silly Batman video project for Drama class. This was an awesome one, because it's Gorey. And now it's gone. At best given to some kid, most likely tossed with whatever other crap they grabbed from the other cars and couldn't immediately fence.

A very quick check shows that replacements go for anywhere from $150 to $500. Presumably because they were made while Gorey was still alive. I'm not a collector, and can't justify paying that kind of money in any case.

But... if we can't replace the bat, that actually hurts the most from this whole sordid little affair. Because it's an emotional loss that isn't even valued by the thieves.

madbaker: (disgruntled clown)
Some time last night there was a smash-and-grab down much of the street. We got the lottery ticket: they stole our car.

Normally this isn't a problem in our neighborhood, but there it is. Police report filed and insurance notified. All we can do is wait and see if it's dumped somewhere, and if so in what condition.

No real losses other than the car. My prescription sunglasses and the Fastrak.

madbaker: (demons of stupidity)
Well, that was an unproductive and rage-inducing outing.

madbaker: (Krosp)
An article in the SF Comicle this morning referred to Emperor Joshua Norton as "the godfather of steampunk." How is that? The Emperor was, admittedly, a very cool crazy historical character. But to the best of my knowledge he never did *anything* with gears, Jacob's Ladders, or mutant gerbils. If you want a historical personage to venerate, how about Ada Lovelace? She was Lord Byron's daughter and a lifelong friend of Charles Babbage. A mathematician, she understood how the Difference Engine would work and could easily have been a programmer.

For those who say "Steampunk is an alternate-universe thing, and in this canon the Emperor could have been the patron of steamtech" - in that case, it's just as valid to venerate James T. Kirk as the godfather of steampunk. Because once I wrote some fanfic about an alternate universe where Captain Kirk went back to the 18th century, and started the industrial revolution so he could build a warp engine. He was inspired/assisted by my Mary Sue, who also had badly-written sex with him.

(Okay, I never wrote that fanfic. But in an alternate universe I did, so it still counts.)
madbaker: (demons of stupidity)
The Psychic Friends Network filed for bankruptcy in 1998 and is going public again. The first page of the presentation includes some important cautionary language. "Undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements," it says, "because PFN can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct."

Grrrr

Sep. 4th, 2012 05:59 pm
madbaker: (life is good)
I hate when characters in a book act stupid to further the plot. Especially when they're acting out of character, as it were. It's sloppy on the part of the author and it pulls me right out of the narrative.

I'm currently reading a book by a local author. It's the second in a series, and granted this may well have been her second book -- but that doesn't excuse it. Editors? Anyway, the main character is a PI investigating a murder. Turns out that there have been several murders. The locals have called out but only leave messages, and the reverse is true when people call in. The messages are never transmitted. This is known by the main character, and she never gets suspicious about it or acts on the knowledge. Even when she's calling out to someone else and gets through! Gratuitous stupidity to further the plot.

I have decided the term for this is deus ex stupida.

madbaker: (demons of stupidity)
Turns out that my lack of (home) laptop connectivity wasn't a fried wireless card. I took it to a decent local shop and they found a virus that was resetting the IP address randomly. They cleaned it off and installed a different virus-checker; I'd been using McAfee, but it didn't catch this one. As the guy said, "I see lots of malware on PCs with McAfee running."

...apparently the virus came from a recent McAfee update.
The irony, it burns.

madbaker: (demons of stupidity)
I called Hyatt to tell them that my father-in-law will not be accepting their offer of a weekend getaway, because he died some years ago. The representative making small talk mentioned that he had "the same thing happen on another call last week."

Yeah, that inspires confidence in their marketing.

madbaker: (oxford comma)
Proposed: People who habitually use texting abbreviations in other forms of communication are hereby banned from said forms. This ban shall be revoked when/if the offender demonstrates a habitually correct usage of vowels and grammar.

madbaker: (demons of stupidity)
After a twelve-hour wait in the emergency waiting room, a doctor finally took the time to inspect the wife. His verdict: "We would have let you go after four hours' observation. Go take ibuprofen."
...
Neither of us got much sleep last night. She's in worse shape than I am, obviously. We'll see how she's doing in a few hours. Packing has been put on hold (not that there's a ton).

What I'm reading: Daniel Suarez, Daemon

madbaker: (demons of stupidity)
Workers are tearing up the place next door. There is a sign on the sidewalk: "Sidewalk closed, use other side."
Workers are tearing up the street across from this. There is a sign on the sidewalk: "Sidewalk closed, use other side."

Try not to get run over as you repeatedly cross the street in an infinite loop.

madbaker: (demons of stupidity)

madbaker: (Nubian?)
Regarding the Seattle school that required Easter eggs to be called Spring spheres:
"For this crime of political correctness, let us all hope the school officials responsible receive a lump of carbon-based fuel in the cloth tube-sack they hang next to their December Light-Festooned Interior Coniferous Vegetation this Winter Holiday."

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