My XBox Live Gamer Card
Wednesday, August 5. 2009
The oils in my hands seem to be naturally acidic. This came into play on my old PowerBook G4 where whatever it is my skin secretes ate away the the brushed aluminum finish and turned the wrist rests into a pitted black mess. I decided I wouldn't go through that again with my MacBook Pro, so I did some investigation and came up with Marware's solution to the problem. It looked like exactly what I needed to prevent my lovely aluminum finish being destroyed. When I got it I asked Jennifer, who is far more skilled at such things than I am, to apply all the appropriate sticky bits to all the appropriate places (both wrist rests and the trackpad). I was greatly pleased. The "feel" took a bit of getting used too, but I was very pleased with the quality and the look (the look is definitely not enhanced, but it not as horrible a blemish as it might have been).
I used everything quite happily for a couple of weeks and then it happened. The film over the track pad wrinkled just a tiny bit on the edge closest to the screen. I took my credit card and re-stuck it down, but within an hour or so it was back to being wrinkled, I decided I was going to have to live with it, but over the course of a few days three more little wrinkles appeared across the top edge, and finally I couldn't stand it any more and I peeled the entire film off. I sent an email to the support address at Marware telling them how happy I was with the wrist protectors, but also letting them know about my problem with the trackpad film. I didn't ask for a replacement, I didn't ask for a refund, I just let them know what had happened. Within 24 hours I had a response from Marware, saying "That shouldn't have happened, we'll get a replacement to you immediately." They didn't even ask for my address as they were competent enough to look up my mailing address based on my email address. Within a few days I had a replacement trackpad film in my mail box. I consider that to be exceptional customer service and I am more than happy to tell anyone who will listen about that experience.
Shortly after my father died in April I was shocked to discover that there was a bit of life insurance and a couple of small annuities of which I was one of the beneficiaries. I got some forms I was supposed to fill out, but had no information whatsoever about the amounts of money involved, or the time periods over which the annuities would pay out or the tax status of those annuities. Without that information I had no good way of filling out the forms I had been provided. Attached to the forms was Marci's business card from a company called Bankers, it included all the required contact information so I thought getting the information I needed would be quite easy.
Most of you who know me know that I hate the telephone. I would rather email than phone, I would rather text message than phone I would rather send smoke signals than use the phone. I sent Marci an email and then waited, I didn't hear back so sent another email the next day. I didn't hear back so sent yet another email for days later. I didn't hear back. Then I went and checked my spam folder. I use SpamSieve, and it works very well, however it had flagged Marci's response to me as spam and I was mortified to discover that the increasingly irate tone of my email had been completely undeserved. I sent an email of apology and we started over. I got the information I needed, delivered the forms to her office, and waited and waited. I wasn't too concerned about the money until Jennifer lost her job, then it became a bit more important.
Any time I call the office at Bankers and dial Marci's extension I get voice mail, given the number of calls, I would have expected her to pick up her office phone at least once. When I dial 0 to get the receptionist I once again get voice mail, only this time it's a general mail box. I was trying for several days to get her, but before we were able to connect I received some checks in the mail. I thought "Great! everything is resolved!" but then noticed that I still hadn't received a check for the life insurance. So I continued to call, and finally I got a call back. "There's a problem," she said "You need to fill out this other form and sign it." She faxed it to me and I faxed it back. Everything should have been good, but more weeks went by and still no check.
Once again I tried the phone calls, once again, no one in the Bankers office would pick up the phone, once again I left messages. Finally she called back. "Ohh I'll check on that for you." Miracle of miracles, I actually got a call back, it was on Friday the 24th of July. She said the check had been cut. It would be mailed to her office and would be available likely by Wednesday of the next week. She also told me she would call me to tell me when it came in.
On Wednesday of the next week I went on vacation for a week. I didn't get a phone call while I was gone. I didn't get a check while I was gone. I called this morning, as usual she didn't answer her phone. I left a message asking her to call me. I wonder how long that will take.
Just as I can't recommend Marware highly enough, I can't say enough bad things about Marci and Bankers. Bankers is a company that sells products that put them in close contact with the bereaved on a daily basis, people who need their hands held, and shoulders to cry on and understanding and care, not the thoughtless, careless and callous treatment that I have seen in the three months I have been dealing with them.
So if you're looking for life insurance or annuities I can't suggest strongly enough that you steer clear of Bankers. If you already, do business with them then please steer clear of Marci in the NE Portland Office.
Tuesday, May 5. 2009
Last night I finally finished Fallout 3. I had enjoyed many many hours of playing this excellent game. A world full of interesting characters, interesting questions, and interesting places. Sure I was disappointed at the level cap (one of the reasons the game fell to the wayside of my gaming), but I understand that it was part of the price we paid for not having auto-leveling bad-guys in the game (like we did in Oblivion). On the whole my experience as I wandered through the Capital Wasteland was one of awe and deep enjoyment. There were so many little touches that made it possible to completely lose yourself in the world these incredibly talented developers had created.
And then we got to the finale, and instead of putting the capstone on this incredible piece of work, the game came to an Epic Failure. Not just a small gaffe, not a tiny distraction, but an Epic Failure. I won't go into to details as I hate spoilers as much as the next person, but the ending tossed out everything we might have expected for this game based on how things were handled at the end of Oblivion, based on what we had learned about our avatar as we wandered through the beautiful Capital Wasteland, based on the skills and items I had picked up in my wandering. It all came crashing down in a nonsensical jumble that left me incredibly disheartened and wondering whether I will be investing in the DLC Bethesda have made available for the game.
I don't understand how something so beautiful could end up so disappointing.
Tuesday, March 18. 2008
Dear Fellow Fast Lane Driver,
I think that you and I must have some misunderstanding. When I storm up behind you in the fast lane with my high beams flashing it is not me who is being rude, it is you. You see, the fast lane is there for a purpose, that purpose is to allow people moving faster than you to pass you. That is why there are often two other lanes on the freeway, so you have someplace to drive when you are not passing. Driving in the right-hand lane (slow lane) does not necessarily mean you are going slowly. It simply means that you are making up to two other lanes of traffic available for people who are going faster than you. That is a courtesy to everyone else on the road.
It shouldnít matter whether you are doing 66 miles an hour and believe that is "fast enough" for everyone. It actually isnít, hence my high beams flashing at you. Whether I desire to go 67 miles an hour or 97 miles an hour. That is none of your concern (if the police decide it is their concern, and they have on more than one occasion, I will happily take my lumps).
Driving in the slow lane, except when passing makes everything run more smoothly. I find it quite nutty when the slow lane has no traffic in it and people are backed up in the fast and the center lanes. This is obviously a breakdown of the system and shouldnít be happening.
Driving in the center lane or fast lane is not a God-given right, this is why there are signs all along the road saying "Slower Traffic Must Keep Right." Yes, this means you, even if you are going 80. If there is nothing in front of you and you are going more slowly than I am you must move right. While Iím very pleased when you move to the center lane, It actually makes more sense to move all the way to right lane. This means that I can pass you in the center lane, and the guy going even faster than I am can pass me in the fast lane. See how well that works? You changed to the right-hand lane, and you not only allowed me by, thereby making me happy, you allowed me to allow someone by, thereby making them happy.
If you choose not to move over, I will likely choose to forget that my brights are on, and unlike a car, the brights on my motorcycle are retina searing. Iím sure youíll try and teach me a lesson and slow down. The only problem with that is passing on the right is dangerous, because those smart enough to practice good lane discipline could be pulling back to the right, directly into my path. So if you slow down, I will likely just sit behind you, brights on and wait until you decide to stop being rude, or lazy, or arrogant, or whatever it is you are being and move to the right so I can pass safely.
I hope this clears up any confusion you may have had.
Thursday, November 1. 2007
Some categories of human garbage are to despicable to be described using polite language. Fred Phelps, his daughters and the members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas are one such class of people. These are the "Christians" who go around the country picketing at the funerals of our fallen troops with signs that read things like "God Hates Fags," "Thank God for 9/11," "Your Pastor is a Whore," and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."
There have been several responses to this group of hate-filled bigots. One of the more interesting ones to me (since I ride a motorcycle and all) was the formation of the Patriot Guard Riders who will form a human shield, separating the protesters from those paying their last respects at the funerals of our fallen soldiers.
The father of one of those soldiers filed a civil lawsuit against the church and just won an $11 million judgment against them.
When I first heard the news I rejoiced. Something needs to be done about these despicable pieces of human filth. Upon further review, however, I'm torn. Not over my belief that these people are sick twisted fucks, but over the fact that they could lose a civil suit for exercising one of the freedoms granted to us in our Bill of Rights. One of the things that makes this country great is that we are able to say things, we're able to take issue with our government. There are many places in this world where I could be arrested for saying the equivalent of "George Bush is a dangerous moron and does not deserve to be President." So far the brownshirts haven't come knocking on my door though. These funerals are public events. The sidewalks and streets used to hold the demonstrations are public venues, and like it or not. That pesky First Amendment protects speech, all speech (yes, I do know there are a few limitations), even abhorrent speech.
While I sympathize with the jury that returned this verdict. While I sympathize with the father and the family that filed the suit, I'm not sure that this is a road I want to go down. What happens when someone decides that "George Bush is a dangerous moron" is abhorrent speech and not worthy of First Amendment protections?
The best I can hope for is that when these pathetic excuses for human beings stand before God, they will see a bit of their theology played out. I hope He will look at them and say "Get away from me I never knew you."
Wednesday, October 17. 2007
I can tell you know. I can spot you from a mile a way. It's an extra special skill I developed since I started riding a motorcycle. One of those survival skills that evolves because it has to evolve to keep me safer on the road.
What's that? What can I tell? I can tell that you're doing something that is as unsafe as drinking and driving. I can tell you're talking on your cellphone. It's really quite scary. I can pick you out of the crowd. Your brake lights flash at strange moments, you regularly drift all over your lane, you end up breaking hard when you shouldn't have to, you change lanes and cause someone else to brake hard to avoid you.
I've done it in the past. Since I started riding my motorcycle I try never to use my phone in the car unless I have a headset. I do that because my experience on my bike has shown me just how impaired drivers on their cellphones are.
If you don't believe me, believe the Myth Busters. They did a pretty in-depth study on the subject, comparing people who were over the legal limit with people who were talking on their cellphones. Guess what. The drunk drivers performed better in many cases.
So please help keep the roads safe. Buy a headset for your cellphone. If you can't do that...
...Hang up and drive.
Thursday, September 27. 2007
Why is it that people who work in retail insist on arguing with their customers? I just don't get it. 16,000 miles ago when I last bought tires for my V-Strom, I bought them from Cycle Gear (it used to be Rose City Cycle and ohh how I miss those days). Since they were going to the store, shipping was free, as was mounting and balancing. Overall the experience was reasonable, not perfect, but reasonable.
Today I called them they quoted me a price $25 more per tire than their own website had them. I pointed this out, and after much hemming and hahhhhing , he said I could get them for only $9 per tire more than the website, but that mounting and balancing would be extra. I made it clear that last time I had to go through this process shipping had been free, as had mounting. "Well sir I've been here for six years and that's never been our policy." I really really wanted to scream at him, he'd already lost the sale, so what's the harm in a little screaming? "I don't fucking care if it's not been your policy, it's what you did!"
I spent some time looking at tire reviews on the V-Strom international site. Looking for sites that had good prices on tires and good service. I found one. SW Moto. They had great prices, and NO shipping. Still it's painfully expensive to put new rubber on the bike. After the almost $260 on the rubber there'll be another $100 for the mounting and balancing. Of course having a blowout at speed when you've only got two wheels under you doesn't sound like too much fun.
Sunday, September 9. 2007
A few posts ago I spilled the beans that I had actually written some erotica. I'm sure you were all completely shocked by that confession. Of course I doubt there's anyone who enjoys putting pen to paper that hasn't attempted to create their own version of the erotic masterpiece (Anne Rice may be the most notable of said authors, though I'm wondering if she's feeling guilty about the Sleeping Beauty books now that she has returned to the faith she grew up in). Unfortunately for us, most of those writers are not Anne Rice and they should have found some other way to spend their time. There are huge volumes of dreadful erotica out there, not just regularly dreadful, but disturbingly, horrificly dreadful.
I have standards (even if they're not very high). I even have standards for smut, and it seems that many of the writers of smut have a firm grasp on something other than the English language. Here are three things guaranteed to make me stop reading any story.
That beautiful young woman you're about to ravage does not have a taunt body (unless of course her body has found a way to mock you). While her body is definitely not taunt, it may very well be taut.
A submissive girl is not looking for a Dominate male (or female for that matter, depending on how she swings). It's quite possible she is looking for someone to dominate her, that she wants to experience complete domination, and that she wants to be dominated over and over again. The correct person to accomplish those tasks would be a Dominant male (or female depending on how she swings).
Am I the only one who learned this last one in PE class in elementary school?
When you take that beautiful young woman with the taut body who wants you to be the Dominant in her life and toss her on/in the bed/couch/table/boat dock/back seat/hay/floor, and she looks up at you with vast quantities of lust in her eyes as she lays back, she is not lying prone, she is lying supine. If she were prone she'd be having a much more difficult time looking up at you with vast quantities of lust in her eyes, it's not impossible, mind you, but it would be more difficult.
I'm sure there are many more things that peeve me, but those are the three that most bug me. What makes you stop reading?
Friday, August 24. 2007
One of the first tenets of riding a motorcycle is that absolutely everyone else on the road is out to kill you. Once you start thinking with that mindset, it is a whole lot easier to keep yourself safe when you're on your bike.
Feet down on the freeway is not a good thing, when my bike is under power, I have opportunity to dodge, weave, and get the hell out of the way of all those other vehicles on the road that are so much bigger than I am. When my feet are on the pavement on the freeway, it means I'm stopped in a place where people don't generally stop, which means that someone is even more unlikely to be looking for me, which means I'm at greater risk. I don't like that!
I want to say thank you to Mr. Greenpeace Flag Waving Guy who thought the Washington St. overpass across I-205N was a good place to be. I realize you think you were doing a good thing, raising awareness (but of what exactly). What you really did was put me in danger when I didn't need to be. You also likely made a bunch of people late to work. I know the stupidity of drivers is not really your fault, but given your vantage point I'm quite sure you could see what you were doing to traffic, and still you persisted in your efforts to raise awareness (but I'm still not sure what exactly it was you were raising awareness of). Did it make you feel like that kid in the school cafeteria who got up on his chair and shouted "ATTENTION! ATTENTION PLEASE!" and then when everyone stopped what they were doing to look, politely said "Thank you, I like attention"?
I want to say thank you to all the drivers who found these flags interesting enough that they needed to stop on the freeway to check them out. If Mr. Greenpeace Flag Waving Guy had been getting ready to jump I might cut you some slack, but he wasn't, he was just waving his flags, yet you stopped to take in this sight, stopped on the freeway! In case you didn't know, freeways are special kinds of roads where people are encouraged to keep moving, usually at a higher rate of speed than regular roads.
I know neither you Mr. Greenpeace Flag Waving Guy, nor you I-205N drivers really meant any harm, and fortunately, none happened that I know of. In future though, please consider that your actions may be putting people in harms way, not just us folk on motorcycles who end up feet down on the freeway, but everyone out there with a front or rear bumper.
(Page 1 of 1, totaling 8 entries)
apple applestore blackberry books civics concert d&d dvd editors faith family fanboy firefly food food grilling and recipes friends gti halo hobbies honorharrington humour hyperlinq iPod ipr law linux motorcycles movies music onmyipod oop os/x pets politics priceless programming pubsub python rant recipes religion review riding ridinggear salad society sports support technology travel unittest video games widget writing wxpython xbox360
Last entry: 2010-03-04 12:39
166 entries written
12 comments have been made