Sunday, December 31, 2006

What we loved, hated, and wished we loved - 2006.

This is the time of year when we review how products held up for the year. It is super easy to get excited about a new toy - but much less easy to be excited after a year of use. This is how things worked out for us.

First lets start with the things we love.

1. Weaknees. Hands down - the best customer support on the planet.

Way back here I was crying and bitching like a little girl about our Series 3 Tivo. Weaknees had a fix 3 weeks after I made that entry.

We paid to ship the box back to them. Weaknees sent us an email saying it was on its way back to our doorstep before I knew the machine had arrived at their support department. They turned the machine around with the upgrade in 1 day.

The drive is now completely quiet. The fix far surpassed our expectations.

2. The 2006 Pontiac Solstice.

Driving this car is like being one of the prettiest girls at every party. Even the drivers of more expensive exotic sports cars will turn to look when you drive down the road. You get so much attention - it actually freaked me out for a while to drive it.

People are more courteous to you, even while in bumper to bumper traffic. Driving the car is only half of why this was a great purchase. The buying experience is the other half.

Back in the spring these were pretty hard to find. There was about a 10% mark-up because of this. I started calling every Pontiac dealer-ship in Silicon Valley, and happened upon Lehmers Pontiac in Concord Ca. The dealer-ship quoted me a price over the phone. Because they were charging well under the 10% mark-up we went down that night.

They handed us the keys and let us take it for a drive. We were already sold at the point.. we just needed to make sure the car would comfortably fit someone who was tall. A very fun car - but the most impressive part of the experience is when we went to sign all the paperwork - the price was exactly the same as we were quoted. They didn't try to sell us anything extra. It was hands down the best car buying experience I've ever had. Dare I say.. even pleasant. We didn't even walk out with that feeling most people get from buying a car - screwed. The service department is equally impressive.

3. Fisher Paykel "Dish Drawer" dishwasher.

When I first saw these things I hated them. I thought there were a needlessly up-scale product. What caused us to buy one was the idea that you can run a load in each drawer independently. And I can not enphasize enough how useful that feature is.

4. & Amazon Prime

Often Amazon has items at our doorstep within 24 hours. Sometimes I think they ship products to us even before we realize we want them.

5. American Power Conversion UPS.

You can read about our experience here. We were so happy with the product we bought two more of them.

6. Pacific Laser Systems laser meter.

Lets face it.. everything can be made better with lasers - but if you do any remodeling you just have to get one of these.

7. On-Star.

We wound up using the system 3 times this year. Late this summer when a girl wound up rolling her car a couple of cars in front of my husband. When I hit that dog - here. And once for a road hazard.

I never in a million years thought we use ever use the system when he bought it.. but it really is worth the monthly fee to not have to search for emergency numbers in the middle of a crisis.

The feature that makes us even happier is the On-Star/Verizon partnership that enables us to use the hands free car-phone to link with the Verizon service. The car phone never cuts out like our normal Verizon cell phone service. Traveling the same span of road the cell phone will cut out on average 2 times. The car phone - never.

Next up - things we wished we loved.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Another Comcast Rant.

I swear to you - Comcast will not rest until they have you resent every experience you have with them.

Listen.. one of the few - and I stress FEW - good features Comcast Cable had going for them was the ability to watch trailers for movies. I have purchased a lot of movies I would have never chosen to buy if I hadn't been given the choice of watching a trailer.

With so much media choice I forget what a movie is about by the time I get around to viewing it. Yes.. I'm ADD to the hilt.

So this week - while wanting to figure out if we wanted to buy a movie - we were greeted with this new gem.

You can not turn it off. And it is really f-ing annoying.

I can only guess they did this because the menu system for buying movies through Comcast is really cumbersome. So.. why fix that? Just make it so your customers have a hard time trying to actually view the preview. Oh.. or make it even better by letting this fuck-tard talk about 2 minutes before letting you see a 1 minute clip.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

All for the sake of vanity.

Okay... I'll admit it. I was pretty blessed in the acne department. As a kid I rarely had blemishes. As an adult I occasionally get a blemish or two. They always come in these weird spots that hurt like hell. Like the corner of your lip or right on the tip of your nose. But with new technology why should I even suffer with those?

So when I got this little Zeno device which was suppose to rid me of these fall-backs to adolescence I was super skeptical. After all - blemishes are a way of life. You just suck it up and pretend you don't think everyone is looking at the giant zit on your nose. Which they are.

So far I'm loving this thing. It turns you into a pimple monkey. Searching your whole body for even the slightest blemish to target. I almost can't wait to get acne so I can play with the device. It has a super great ipod-ish sleek design.

It does take 2 minutes per application. But what else are teenagers going to do when they are sitting at home without a date from pizza face?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Lasers - lasers - lasers.

Lets face it... you can get us to buy anything if it has lasers in it. Lasers are the geek equivalent of a disco ball.

I haven't actually done much more than turn the thing on... but I do have to give some feedback so far on the company I-Tech.

When I started looking at these things before Christmas, I couldn't find them in stock anywhere but from the company web-site- which I have to say put me off just a tad.

The web order form was a little well... low tech looking. I couldn't get through on the phone the first time I tried. So I e-mailed the company. A gentleman named Eyal responded within a few hours. I was still unsure if I was just throwing money away, but I took the chance and placed the order after being told they were expecting an order from Israel, and we would have our shiny new toy by Christmas. Honestly.. I had low expectations... I never thought it would come before the holiday.

They delivered almost a week early. I like companies who respond to customers quickly, and ship on time. I will post a review a little later on. I already notice there is some dependency on how you hold your hands. The keyboard is not as responsive to the way I type vs. my husband. We can't figure out why yet.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Over-achieving Christmas!

Turns out I have a little sugar fetish. Not just any sugar.. but the large crystallized colored kind. Normally when I make Cherry Pie I just put some jumble of of red and purple. It comes out very pop-tart-ish. I don't know why but these sugars keep their shape and don't melt all over the place. So it gives the top an interesting crunchy quality.

So when I was in the store last.. I thought "maybe I'll just pick up another color", but they had this whole rack which made me go crazy and say -fuck it- and I got all the colors. This was the end result. My husband is a co-conspirator.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Living with E. Cuniculi in Rabbits.

This entry is really for search engine purposes. My regular eclectic readers should probably just pass this entry by.

It is always so crazy how life snaps you awake. And maybe it wouldn't have meant anything except it happened a year ago this week. It was the last thing on my mind. I'm just going to the vet to pick up eye lube for Jane. But there it our file.. a printout.

You see about a month ago we had a titer retest on our bunny Fudge who had previously tested positive for E. Cuniculi. This - the 4th test - was negative. This was surprising, considering this was not thought to happen. One of the staff had done some research and placed this printout in our file for us. But oddly - I went in today. A year after we learned about this disease by a fatality. Our girl Amber. She tested E. Cuniculi titer positive at .1803. High positive. Before this, we knew nothing about it.

I told myself when I could - I would make an entry for those searching for information about having rabbits who have positive titers for E. Cuniculi. Mostly because there is come debate about what happens to rabbits who are infected.

We immediately set to get everyone tested. We thought because they all live within 25 feet of another there might be other losses. At the time we thought any testing positive would meet the same fate as Amber. What we found out was pretty interesting.

Amber - who tested the highest was 1.803. She was 3 years old.

Willow - tested at 1.083. We thought he might not live since he was very high. Even thought he was the healthiest bunny we had/have.

Jane - Willows' mate tested at 0.536

Fudge - who was housed next to them tested at 0.436

Paisley - housed the furthest away tested at 0.284

Kirby - housed 2nd to closest, tested Negative 0.139

We were amazed that a house full of positives would produce a single negative. Kirby. It also made trying to figure out how we became infected hard. We had gotten Kirby in the middle of the pack. Those before and after her were possitive.

There was much discussion about re-testing with our vet. Since there has been very little positive information about treating for this illness, we collectively decided that now we have a base titer count we will wait and see. If anyone shows signs of anything - we will retest.

Willow was the obvious one to watch. His count is very high. He is going on 9 years, and is perfectly healthy. At this point, one could cautiously hope he will die from old age rather than E. Cuniculi. We don't know when he was infected.

Jane also seemed greatest as risk. She and Willow lived together. This was about the time her Glaucoma acted up. We also thought it was E. Cuniculi related and that she might perish. The eye turned out to be Primary Glaucoma, and she has also been very healthy now that they eye has stabilized for right now.

Fudge seemed in the grey area, but he has had more health problems - so has been tested 4 times. Positive 0.436, negligible, undetermined once, then Negative. He is also about 9 years old.

Who knows how this will turn out, but it is interesting just with our own small control group.

To learn about E. Cuniculi (Encephalitozoon Cuniculi) go here, here and here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Laundry Room Project

Another project we are trying to get finished is our laundry room. Some may remember we had to kick our contractors off the job earlier in the year here. So we are putting the cabinets up ourselves.

My husband and I took a little while to figure out what cabinets we wanted. A lot of our projects spend a lot of time in design. This is the rendering my husband did.

This is where we are at right now.

And I managed to find a before picture. One thing we are really bad at is taking before pictures. This is from the very first day we viewed the house, and the room really was that yellow.

The only hold-up?

Since we aren't contractors and can be slightly impulsive we sometimes run into roadblocks right when we get to them. It started out we were only going to set the larger cabinets, but that made the room look out of proportion. So we set out to the cabinet warehouse to buy what we thought was a standard 12inch cabinet addition. Of course... nothing we ever want comes in the sizes we want, so we wound up with 14 inch.

We get one up and notice we didn't account for that outlet. Now we have an add on project or ripping the wall open and rotating that outlet. is way better than having to bitch about having someone else do it. I am pretty done with contractors for the year.

Links to other tile projects here.

Data closet.

Well... nothing has been pissing me off this week.

Got my cards in the mail last night. Which is a project I of course hate. When I got to one of those boxes they have on the street a gentleman was dropping off his cards also. He said he had just come from the post office and the boxes there were full. This was late night. When he went to shove his cards in the street box, this one was completely full too. So I crammed mine in there being really glad I don't send checks to anyone.

I'm mostly on technology reviewing hiatus until after the holidays. I don't want to spoil any fun surprises for my husband. I will be doing a best and worst of the year update.

So.. I'm just going to tell you what we have been working on. This weekend we made more progress on our data closet. In the beginning this seemed like a really simple project to do. But finding wire the was not only strong enough to hold tower machines - which will be on the bottom shelf - was not easy. Also, finding wire that would fit the general size of the closet without some wacky modification was much harder than it seems. Only one company we found - The had our size and they shipped it to us in 2 days (kudos to them) after I had a bitchfest here. So hopefully by next weekend my Alienware machine will have a permanent home.

I know you are saying "just stick in a shelf for f's sake". Well.. that would be the easy thing to do. We don't work that way. Also that is a big dust black-hole. The wire shelf method makes it much easier to keep the dust from collecting around the machines, and you don't have to move everything to dust.

I can't wait to sell this house and hear the feedback from our realtor when a prospective buyer wonders why the hell there are so many GFI power outlets in a bedroom closet.

Saffron has an oral fixation.

Links to other bunny pictures on this site here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How companies make it hard to buy from them.

Today I will be blog-burning Calyx&Corolla. Which is a bummer because they send phenomenal flowers. This is not my issue. Oddly - customer service is not my issue either. They have really good customer service.

Okay - I don't know about you, but sending flowers should be almost as fun as getting flowers. It is flowers for f's sake.

So, when my mother-in-law's birthday and imminent retirement came up this week, I wanted to send a huge bouquet. My mother-in-law loves to show off how much her kids love her. After all - this would be last big bragging opportunity. She can always brag to her friends.... but not quite as fun as bragging to all of her co-workers.

So I hopped over to the Calyx&Corolla web-site. It took me a while to decide, because this is the off season. Not as much selection, but that is to be expected.

This is the arraignment. Not my favorite. But...I thought my mother-in-law would like them.

Looking at the vase on the picture I knew it wouldn't be able to fit the extra large bouquet with 20 stems listed with this display. So I set off to find a vase of similar hight but a wider size from their list here.

After I had made a choice I called the company. Let me tell you, I'm not the kind of person who loves to take up customer service time. I would have loved to just order from the web-site, but I wanted to make sure the flowers fit the vase. When I asked the rep to make sure the flowers will fit, this set off on a 30 minute process of elimination call. I would have canceled the order all-together if I hadn't always gotten reports of amazing flowers sent from them. I kept apologizing over and over for taking up so much of her time.

The service rep pointed out that the flowers themselves are 18-22 inches tall. Anything in the 9 inch tall range is really pushing it. I would have just preferred to get a plain glass vase like the one featured here.. but that also wasn't going to be big enough. So basically my choice are this and this. And let me tell you.. if you have to call it an urn, that should give you a hint that most people will not buy it unless being sent to a mortuary. Sadly.. I'm pretty sure I already sent her a big bouquet of sun-flowers in this same exact vase this spring.

I started buying from Calyx&Corolla because one time I sent my mother-in-law flowers, and like all mother-in-laws she wanted to brag - and wound up sending us a picture of the bouquet we sent. Lets just say the contracted FTD company made liberal substitutions. I was not happy. Calyx&Corolla has never done that to us. We have spent really a lot of money with them. Especially this year. I don't know why they offer extra large bouquets if they aren't going to provide a vase choice. Its almost like they don't really want you to spend more money. I'm not even asking for anything amazing. Just a simple glass vase like the one they list with the arrangement. Right now I'm thinking the arrangement and vase look like really wild wallpaper.

Monday, December 11, 2006

What can you say?

Why the holidays suck.

1. Inconsiderate people. Obviously there are millions of examples.. but my husband related this one to me this weekend. He went into the post office just to mail a letter. Already stamped.. it just had to be slid into the slot in the wall. A woman apparently was at the front of the line placing stamps on envelopes one at a time and sliding them into the slot. This created a line where no line should ever exist. You just slide your stuff in and walk away. But this woman couldn't move to one of the tables and place stamps on her crappy cards - she had to do it right in front of the slot so other people had to wait for her.

2. Putting cranberries on everything. I hate that - and I love cranberries. I really don't want to get a salad that I have ordered 100 times previously and find it has cranberries on it. Since I always think a customer who complains is going to have ass rubbed on their food I never fuss about this kind of thing. I'd rather suck it up and pick them off - but please stop already.

3. The incessant need to have parties. Especially the office cubemunity parties. This is always a great fun because you really can't drink, and you can't tell outrageous stories. I mean... you can - in a sort of career limiting move.

4. Crappy cards. I am always under huge pressure about this whole card issue. Personally when I send a card I want people to think it was meaningful. I understand most of the world does not agree with me.. but honestly, can't the people at Hallmark step it up a bit and be a little more creative?

5. The old people. I know.. I'm an asshole about the old people. The holidays make them swarm out of their retirement villages like pouring hot water into an ant colony. And half of them have barely spent two days out of the lazy-boy rocker the whole year - so they are hobbling around like a toddler taking their first steps.

6. People who don't look before before walking out in front of cars. Okay.. this isn't really as much of a holiday issue and just something that really annoys me.. but the holidays make it much worse.

Stay tuned for additions...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It was all for nothing.

I have to admit, I'm not sure how I feel about this press release right now. I really expected them to only be sentenced right about now. I think I feel incredulous, and in a little shock.

Mostly I think it is really f-ed up that two men are going away for life for such a stupid f-ed up reason. From the day the allegations were read I was sure this would end just this way, but by a jury trial. I can't help but think about the huge amount of taxpayer dollars the city expended for these three men when they could have pled out three years ago. A huge jury pool was pulled upon. By my estimate around 800 people.

I am also a little perplexed the reason they pled was "to save the uncertainty of a trial." I am trying to understand how that played out, since I tapped out 2 days before they pled. I don't understand how the circumstances changed. I could almost bet they all ratted each other out, and there are video tapes of them giving each other up. So I just don't get it.

And lastly, as unfortunate as it sounds, I am 100% confident Defendant #3 will be back in the system. He was the youngest. You could tell he felt confident he would get a light sentence. While the other two men never turned around, Defendant #3 could often be seen smiling as he looked around the jury audience. Many times he would be trying to catch the eye of a few people - one who I would later come to understand was his baby momma. One of the last days of my service Defendant #3's lawyer walked right up to her and gave her a note. I was sitting a couple of rows behind her and to the left. From her response it clearly seemed like a love note. She seemed euphoric, and when he would catch her eye they would both smile at each other. How sweet.

Meanwhile the death-count marches on in Murder Mecca. 138 for the year.

11/15/06 7:20 PST

In an unusual legal move, an (city deleted) man has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and other charges and accepted a state prison term of 35 years to life for killing a 19-year-old man three years ago.

Defendant 1, 37, pleaded guilty in the courtroom of (county deleted) Superior Court (Judge Deleted) Tuesday on the eve of a trial that he and two other men faced for the shooting death of Victim 1 in the 300 block of (Street and City Deleted) about 11 p.m. on March 25, 2003.

Three other people have also died in the aftermath of that bloody night.

Co-defendants (Defendant 2), 31, and (Defendant 3), 23, who is Defendant 1's stepson, also pleaded guilty to various charges after nearly two weeks of jury selection in the case.

"It's not every day that you find a defendant willing to plead to first-degree murder and accept a term of 35 years to life," said Deputy District Attorney (name deleted).

He said, "It took us all a little bit by surprise."

Deputy District Attorney said Victim 1 and his best friend, Victim 2, who was 17 at the time, were leaning against a car outside Victim 2' girlfriend's house when a blue van pulled up.

He said Defendant 2 and Defendant 1 got out of the van and accused Victim 1 and Victim 2 of taking a gun from them, but Victim 1 and Victum 2 said they hadn't done so.

The (Prosecutor) said Defendant 1 then opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol, striking Victim 2 and Victim 1.

Witnesses to the shooting turned and ran, so the van pursued them and Defenant 2 fired at them with an assault rifle but didn't strike anyone, (Deputy District Attorney) said.

Defendant 1 was arrested immediately after the shooting and Defendant 2 was found several hours later hiding in a nearby house. Defendant 3 was arrested in January of 2004.

Victim 1 suffered a massive head wound and never regained consciousness. He died 11 days after the shooting.

Victim 2 was paralyzed from the neck down, required a ventilator to breathe and was on life support. He died in August.

(Deputy District Attorney) said 38-year-old Victim 3 had been in the van with Defendant 1 and Defendant 2 and told (city Deleted) police the day after the shooting that the two men were responsible.

A week later, she was murdered in the (Street Deleted), in the same area as the original incident, he said.

Another witness, 22-year-old (Name Deleted), was murdered in broad daylight on June 14, 2003, in the parking lot of a KFC restaurant on (Street and City Deleted), according to Deputy District Attorney.

The murders of Victim 3 and Victim 4 remain unsolved, he said.

Defendant 1 pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and to using a weapon. Two attempted murder charges against him were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Defendant 2 pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder, using a weapon, being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm and possession of drugs and a gun. One count each of murder and attempted murder were dismissed. He accepted a 35-year state prison term.

Defendant 3 was also charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder but was allowed to plead guilty to being an accessory after the fact.

He accepted a sentence of four years and eight months, but was given credit for the time he already has spent in jail and was released from custody Tuesday night.

All three men are scheduled to be formally sentenced by (Judge Deleted) on Feb. 28.

Deputy District Attorney said he accepted the guilty pleas and dropped or reduced some charges "to save the uncertainty of a trial."

He said the families of Victim 1 and Victim 2 "are very happy to put the court part of this behind them."

Defendant 3 attorney, (Attorney name deleted), said he didn't fire any shots and his only role in the crime was to drive Defendant 1 and Defendant 2 away from the scene.

Attorney 3 said Defendant 3 actually was a friend of Victim 1 and Victim 2 but fell under the influence of Defendant 1 and Defendant 2, who are much older.

Defendant 1 was dating Defenant 3's mother at the time of the shooting and later married her, Attorney 3 said.

Defendant 1's attorney, Attorney 1, couldn't be reached for comment today.

Attorney 3 said Defendant 1 agreed to plead guilty because he had faced up to four life terms plus 75 years in state prison if he'd been convicted of all the charges against him.

Defendant 2's attorney, Attorney 2, also couldn't be reached for comment.

Beginning of story.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The best 75 bucks we ever spent.

Normally - I am complaining about technology gone wrong, and how the man is trying to keep me down by not satisfying my customer service needs.... but not today.

It all started last night about 8:20. We were blissfully watching The Amazing Race. It is down to the finally three.. so you know how world shatteringly important it was to see this episode. All of a sudden darkness. The power makes a feeble attempt to restart itself, comes on for a second, and goes down hard.

Out the living room window I see the sky light up.

It isn't that unusual for our grid to go down, but we started to notice a large swath of town was out. This was much bigger than we initially thought. At first we figured it was just our grid, but I'd say maybe 10 grids were down. We think "wow, what the hell happened - this is something more than just a power pole being taken out".

So we did the unsafe - unwise thing of getting in our car to see if we could find where the damage was. In my defense, the cities generators were powering all the lights. So really we weren't creating a safety hazard.

We find where the problem is, and the whole street is blocked off. Since we can't see anything we go back home. We still don't know exactly what the problem is. My mind immediately starts thinking that our emergency scanner isn't charged, and I become a little bummed. Mostly because we would be able to find out what happened, but it is also very helpful in finding out when PG&E expects to get things fixed.

I turn on the scanner hoping it would have just enough charge that it will run for a little while. Even though I know last power outage I ran it dead, and I didn't re-charge it. This is where the great part comes in.

We had just installed on of these battery back-ups from American Power Conversion:

Click to go to site.

Since we have so many very short power hits - we wanted to make sure they didn't wreck our TV. We just wanted something to regulate the power and shut everything down gracefully.

So - I'm flipping around with the scanner and my husband says " you know if we un-plug one of these devices maybe the UPS will have enough power to run the scanner. "Holy crap.... thats brilliant I say".

These UPS's say they will run a computer for about 15 minutes, so we didn't expect it to keep the power on very long. Slightly longer than a computer. After all.. we still have the TIVO plugged in hoping the cable company is still on the grid. After a little more than an hour the power comes back on. To our complete delight the UPS was able to keep the power on our TIVO and was able to record 45 minutes of The Amazing Race. We didn't miss one minute.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Who's brilliant marketing idea was this?

I was "all better" enough to brave a little technology shopping today, and these things struck me as odd.

This store display makes it look like there is no music on Sirius Satellite radio. And really - that can be debated. I mean... do I even need to make a comment about 50cent being grouped with Anderson Cooper, Martha Stewart, and O'Reilly? Couldn't Sirius get some washed up rockers like Ted Nugent, Sebastian Bach or Bob Dylan? Or wait... Bob is over there on XM.

Shouldn't these companies be at least trying to attract the iPod set? You know.... the 15 to 45 year old demographic. Does anyone under 30 even listen to Sirius? Really - I am curious. We subscribe to both XM and Sirius and even I wouldn't buy them based on this store display.

Oh yeah.... do we really need devices where the wire wrap anti-theft device is almost as big as the product you are selling?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thats it.. I give up.

They have defeated me... Customer service has caused me to be a broken shell. They win.

In my head it seems like most things I need should be super simple. Apparently I am a mental case, and I have apparently too high of expectations.

Today I called Citibank to dispute a charge from a vendor. You see I ordered a case of hand-wipes of all things a month ago. They haven't shown up. Calling and emailing the vendor produces the sound of wind whistling through canyons. No one responds at all. They don't even respond to me telling them I am canceling the order. So I had to call my credit card company.

Yes... I know you are wondering why I would order a case of hand-wipes. When you are sticking eye drops in a bunnies eye several times a day you want to make sure not adding any bacteria... but I digress.

The call started fairly uneventfully. I explain my problem, and she starts reading straight from her cheat sheet of questions. You could tell - because she hadn't memorized them, and when she would mess up the sentence she would start over from the beginning.

The biggest problem started because the customer service rep who had a pretty thick accent would ask me questions, and I would say " I'm sorry I didn't understand the question". The rep would then say "I need a yes or no answer". She did this like 3 times. What the hell is that about?

It didn't help that I could swear that I was on an outsourced call. The call had a distinct time delay. Because my Aunt works for a call center for Citibank, I just assumed their call centers were somewhere in the midwest. Because of the time delay I would answer a question and it wouldn't have reached her side yet - so we wound up talking on top of each other. Just f-ing annoying.

On a different annoyance some parts were ordered for my car almost two weeks ago.. and I don't know - I would have expected them to call me when they came in. Yeah... I'm just that dumb.

Then finally... the one that makes me happiest. When I had my new inspector out early yesterday morning telling me that because my fireplace was "just dirty enough" he couldn't give me a definite answer on how much damage was there - I was absolutely sure I would get a call from the gal that makes his appointments. I didn't expect to get an appointment this century.. but there was no ambiguity that he was going to make an appointment for me. I wanted the written report of the inspection and he couldn't finalize the inspection until the chimney was cleaned. Which actually really pisses me off because the first guy I called out refused to clean it. Now I have to wait to fuck-all ever to get someone to clean it and finish inspecting it. At least I don't have to worry about those pesky fires I was hoping to have this winter.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My rant about Lenovo and their sales department.

Holy shit I wish companies would stop wasting my time. Lenovo is yet another to add to my list of companies I will not buy from. I mean.. do these companies even understand the amount of choice people have, and that if you piss a customer off they might just never buy from you?

So - I blogged about wanting to get a tablet PC here. We really thought we would go with Fijitsu, but Lenovo was rated very high for the quality of their machines. So I decided to call them up and see how backloged they were. This is how the conversations went.

Me- I wanted to buy one of your ThinkPad X60's, and know you are back-ordered. I just want to find out what the time-line is.

Omar at 1866-428-4465 x32742 - Right now that product is shipping in about 2-4 weeks.

Me- Is that a firm number?

Omar at 1866-428-4465 x32742 - Yes

Me- Okay, because I just bought a computer from another vendor and they told me it would be 2 weeks and it wound up taking 7.. so I really want to know if 2-4 weeks is the correct time-line.

Omar at 1866-428-4465 x32742 - Which vendor did that?

Me- Alienware.

Omar at 1866-428-4465 x32742 - Oh no.. that is unacceptable. Wait a second, let me look at my database.

(I hear him clicking around)

Omar at 1866-428-4465 x32742 - I have a machine sitting in my warehouse. This is what it has:

X60 Core D 72
1 Gig of Memory
120 Gig drive
Verizon network card
Finger print scanner, and a high output battery.

This machine can ship in 4-5 days.

Me- Really? Let me call my husband and I will call you right back.

So my husband and I email each other back and forth a few times trying to figure out if we wanted things like the Ultrabase so we can watch DVD's.

My husband was also a little concerned about the screen resolution - so he calls Lenovo. When Omar calls him back he confirms the machine has the highest res screen (1400 x 1050) they offer for that model.

After about 4 hours we decide to buy it and my husband calls Omar. I wasn't paying that much attention until all of a sudden I hear a dispute about when shipping will happen. My husband tells me the machine will ship in 2-4 weeks. I was a little annoyed and asked what about the machine we had been discussing all day. So I got on the phone and Omar immediately starts defending the shipping time.

Omar, I say.. "you said you had a machine in the warehouse ready to ship in 4-5 days".

"Oh no" he says. "I could never make that blunder - I said I would have a machine on the web-site in 4-5 days".

Me- Okay thanks - I'm going to another company.

Now the thing that just pisses me off is that he could have told us that he had already sold the machine. It did take us a couple hours to decide. You snooze you loose. But he had to go on with that bullshit that he never said he had a machine ready to ship. And you wouldn't need to go into as much detail about a machine that would "be on your web-site".

I just get so sick of companies doing this. I wish they would just be up front about when you can expect a machine. Like "it will be nine years, but we will get it there exactly in 9 years". If I can't find someone else who will ship in less than 9 years.. I at least know when the hell my machine will show up.

It also makes me none too happy that they are basically booking advanced profits because they bill you right away and sit on your money often for 4,5,6 weeks.

Monday, November 27, 2006

What were they thinking?

This is the time of year that catalogs that you have never heard of get delivered to your house. Often they are so random I find myself turning the catalog over to see if it is even addressed to me, then wondering "how did I get on this list".

I don't shop from catalogs, but there are many entertaining finds during the holiday season. Like this item for example from

I hope even the most hard core feminist would agree that no one wants that much hair coming out of your bikini line. And for the pleasure of wearing a man bear purse you get to pay $240.95. I'm just probably not evolved enough to see how cool this bag really is.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dear iRobot...

Please add bunnies to your marketing blitz.

You don't hate bunnies do you....?

Road Trip.

Things have been super crazy, so I'm just posting a picture taken this weekend. I couldn't get any closer, as they had the gates to this place closed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

An addition to Supermarket hell.

5. Don't get in line until you are completely ready to check out. Don't send your whole family out to "find things", be completely rung up and walking away - only to "get one more item". And if that item you can't live without is shrimp of all things, don't pay with a coupon. And when the checker tells you the price is over 17 dollars say "17 bucks for shrimp"? What are you new?

Items 1-4 from my rant about shopping.

1. If you are going to write a check, make half of it out while you are waiting. Not after you get to the checker. You know what f-ing store you are at. Fill it in, and sign it.

2. Don't park your cart in the middle of the f-ing isle. It takes two seconds to put it on one side or the other so people can easily pass. I know you think you are just going to be a second... but you aren't. So f-ing put the cart to the side.

3. If you are going to spend half a day comparison shopping for spaghetti paste, be considerate and let other people grab their items.

4. If you are feeling a little lonely and want to have a long meaningful conversation with the checker. DON'T! Unless you are the only person in line.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I blame low unemployment.

The two items that bring the most traffic to my site are my jury duty posts, and my rants about Alienware. The latter bringing the most.. even bringing in people from the UK.

So when the conversation between my husband and I came up about getting Tablet PC so he can work while he is in meetings, or we can take on the road with us, you must know I was less than enthused.

After doing a little research here, here , here, here, here - Hell I could go on for days. I found myself in a cringe.

Our other choice is Lenovo which is back-ordered. I hate living in a back-ordered world.

I have to wonder how so many companies like Dell, Alienware, Compaq/HP, Sony can piss so many people off. I can only attribute the severe decline in customer service and support to the low unemployment rate. It creates uneducated workers - a high worker churn rate, and generally people who don't give a shit about doing a good job.

Honestly, I don't know if I can stand the process of ordering a new machine... but chances are I will. And chances are I will be pissed somehow.

Monday, November 20, 2006

When life gives you lemons... well, you've got lemons.

It all started innocently enough. You see - it always does.

We just wanted to have our fireplace cleaned. For years we had been aching to have a fireplace. Our last house was probably the only house on the block that didn't have one. Truthfully, we couldn't afford any of the houses that had them. We just felt lucky the previous owners had let the house fall into such disrepair that we could afford it at all. Every year - winter would roll around ( eventually - this is California after all) and the wonderful winter-ey smell of fireplaces would fill the air. We would always say "next house has to have a fireplace".

And so this is where we find ourselves today. With a fireplace. We were so happy.

With the impending holidays I booked someone to come out and clean the fireplace build-up that was listed on the housing inspection. And really to put my mind at ease about any back-draft problems. Since the bunnies live indoors I wanted to make sure smoke would not build up in the room and harm them.

The fireplace had also been outfitted with gas. I wanted to make sure we could have a rip-roaring wood fire and it not be a problem because we hadn't actually planned to use the gas. So you see... it was suppose to be really routine. I mean... how bad could it be? We paid for 9 million inspections on this place.

Apparently really bad.

Click to enlarge.

Look at Item B.

Oh yeah... I'm pretty sure I am going to freak out.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Maybe there really were Jackalopes!

You have got to go look at this site. As a long time rabbit owner few things suprise me about their ability to get crazy stuff... but this actually did.

Evil Kirby Lu Hoo.

This girl thinks that if I can't see her - I won't know she is doing something bad like trying to chew carpet.

Links to other bunny pictures. Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Snowbot Armies.

If you love blinky lights... you have to go over to thinkgeek and get one of these.

Are parents going deaf... or they just not care?

Let me tell you what happened this weekend.

My husband and I were out shopping for cabinets to finish up our laundry room project, and decided to stop by Circuit City. Partly in a delusional attempt at getting a PS3, and partly to browse laptops. At first we walked through the laptop section and didn't see what we were looking for. We were about to leave when at the last second I noticed the laptop we wanted to look at was behind locked glass. One of these.

It was also at this point that I noticed a family also browsing laptops and one of the children crying. It wasn't a big deal at the time. I understand children cry.

So, my husband set out on a mission to find a sales rep to open the locked case. This took about 5 minutes.

After this amount of time, this child was now on my radar because the family was ignoring him. All this time though the child is getting progressively louder and practically wailing. The parents are still not acting like they hear his cries or notice that other people in the store might find it annoying.

After about 10 minutes we were able to get the machine out of the case and booted since it wasn't really a display model. This kid is still crying and I am starting to get pissed. Mainly because this isn't a baby. He was probably about 7. Much to old to be having a fit like this in a store. I mean... this is something that toddlers do... not big boys like a 7 year old. And the parents still don't say a word to the child. At 15 minutes we leave and the kid is still crying.

I'd like to say I'm just being an asshole about it, but this year I have noticed this sort of thing somewhat often and I have to say it kind of makes my blood boil.

This summer my husband and I stopped at IKEA, and there was this family who had a wailing child who kept screaming "I want to walk". My husband and I figured we would just try to outrun them to another part of the store and all would be bliss. But every move we made they made, and this child was screaming at the top of his lungs about wanting to walk. I finally said pretty loud "let the fucker walk" I know what sounds really mean, but I can't understand how parents can not be affected by a child who constantly cries and wails, and furthermore how they don't think it affects people around them.

Later that same day we went to buy new cell-phones because my husband had put his razor through the wash. The place was pretty busy so we had to wait a little while to get a sales reps attention. In walks this woman with 2 kids. One was a toddler who immediately laid down on the ground and had a screaming wailing fit. And the woman did absolutely nothing about it.

This went on for about 15 minutes before I freaked out. It was the first time I ever had to tell a business that if they didn't do something about that kid they were going to lose a sale. I felt really bad, but I just couldn't take it anymore.

I think the thing that makes me more upset than anything is I watch these parents and they do nothing to make the child stop acting out. I can understand a failed attempt at getting them to stop. Kids are kids... but them doing absolutely nothing drives me up a wall.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Winter Saffron

How everything I knew about Jury Duty was wrong, and how it changed my view on the system. Part 4.

I think this will be the last post, because even I am getting bored about this subject.

Okay.... by day three I was slipping deeper and deeper into anger mismanagement mode. I was starting to alienate all the people I had bonded with up to this point. By day four I was starting to have fantasies about tourette's style outbursts. This is the day I had to tap out, and let me tell you why.

While out on a lunch break I was sitting in the holding area, because frankly I just wasn't good company at this point. Some of the seated jurors were cuddled up patting each other on the back and whatever it is they do. I overheard one of the seated jurors say the following "I didn't know they would let me sit and talk for an hour about my opinions. I have lots of opinions".

Are you fucking kidding me?

This is when I realized everything I knew in the world was wrong. I had pegged this woman as a rational person even though I knew she was a Berkeley grad. After all, she was much younger than the rest. I noticed her the first day because she had one of those super slim iPods. She wasn't retired like many of the others and I thought she had things to do. Oh how wrong I was.

One of the lawyers I had been chatting with this whole time was also desperately trying to get out of service. So I kept asking him "is this normal"? Because I couldn't believe what was going on.

These defendants are in the fight of their lives. They don't give a shit if you rescue animals. I was pretty sure none of them even had degrees. One was much too young, and the other two had already been in the system for serious crimes.

At one point the lawyer admitted it wasn't normal - he said the court doesn't usually want to make people resentful of the process. That made sense at the time, but by day 4 I realized the judge didn't give a shit. After all.. who is he going to make resentful? One or two people? So What!

It was at this point I realized I could never serve on a jury. I could never get past the people who talked endlessly about their accomplishments, then when questioned further would admit "well... it was a long time ago, I don't really remember that much about it". Well, just a minute ago you said you were a rocket scientist. "Oh, I meant I once saw a rocket on the science channel".

Or the people - like in one case who spent 50 minutes being questioned, and asked over and over if they could be objective only to say "weeeeeeeeellllllll, I don't know". These people were given out after out - only to request to talk to the judge in private and never come back. 50 minutes! This was day 4.. it wasn't like he didn't have time to think about it. I don't care if you are embarrassed... he wasn't embarrassed to talk about anything else.

Please... someone let me know that my experience was an isolated case, because I just can not believe that the courts are run this way.

Monday, November 13, 2006

How everything I knew about Jury Duty was wrong, and how it changed my view on the system. Part 3.

Another thing I learned from my jury confinement is that I am the only one on the planet who watches television. And if people did watch - it was always the History Channel. The judge made a joke on the first day after asking a prospective juror "how he got his news" - he said people always say they watch the History Channel.

I didn't realize at the time how significant this comment would be. As a matter of a fact, no one watches the news, so I think they should take it off the air immediately.

Now I know people are thinking to themselves "HEY, I watch the History Channel"! And I'm betting they do.... but statistically the amount of History Channel watchers was highly improbable. Grab 50 people off the street. Any street - and I bet the History Channel rarely comes up. Yet in this group 95% of them were History Channel watchers.

Since the judge let the prospective jurors drone on for as long as they wanted - towards the end sometimes people would admit to watching CSI. I was wondering which one, because CSI NY just sucks, and CSI Miami makes me want to claw my eyes out. We still have 10 episodes on Tivo from last season just in-case there is a meteor collision with the earth and broadcast television ceases to exist.

Personally I have deviated from my reality show whoring to be a big fan of Dexter. You got to love Showtime for actually realizing people want to utilize their HD televisions.

One woman actually admitted to be a court TV watcher, but deemed CSI "too Hollywood". But I had to respect her for being different.

Another thing I deemed unsettling was the judge. From the very first day I noted that he cracked a lot of jokes. It isn't that I expected the place to be completely stodgy, but he cracked a lot of jokes. So many in fact it seemed like he was working towards a second career in stand-up if this whole judge thing didn't work out. About 70% of the jury audience would laugh uproariously at his every attempt at humor, and this would happen really quite frequently.

Now you may think I am being an asshole about it, and under normal circumstance it wouldn't have been notable - but 2 of these guys were probably going away for life. The judge would crack a joke, the juror audience would laugh, and I sat there thinking " if I am accused of these crimes I want the judge to be a little more serious". This also set up a completely different feedback loop in that jurors being questioned would act out in an attempt to get the juror audience to laugh as well.

To be continued.....

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Yep.... our economy sucks!

While out shopping recently I was dazzled by these 60 inch Samsung flat-screen televisions. Of course I am dazzled by all things electronic, but these especially caught my eye. After all, 60 inches is close to your average size Mini Cooper.

I wanted to know how many of these babies were being sold. Because quite honestly they had a huge amount of floor space for them. I thought perhaps a few sold a month.

To my shock the salesperson said they sold about 3 week, at about 4.5 grand each. He claimed he had personally sold over 70 of them himself. He could have been bullshitting me...But then why on earth would a company make a product like these that are so obviously disposable if people weren't capable of buying them?

All I know is that when I was a kid, they would never had made products like these because no one would buy them. I mean... who would spend that kind of money on something that your kid would only use for a few years. I mean, they are obviously made for that 5-10 year old demographic.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

How everything I knew about Jury Duty was wrong, and how it changed my view on the system. Part 2.

One of the things I found particularly disturbing about the whole jury duty experience was the sheer volume of agendas.

I don't consider myself particularly naive. I would even say that I am fairly on the cynical side, but I was completely side-lined by how completely naive I actually was. I expected the lawyers and defendants to have agendas, and even a reasonable amount with the jury pool. After all.. life is about agendas. I'm not stupid. Well, not that stupid.

In serving my time I learned a huge lesson about stated preference vs. revealed preference. You can learn about it here. I found that no matter how hard a prospective juror protested about not wanting to serve or not being able to serve, they were absolutely lying.

Now I don't want readers to misunderstand me. I have absolutely no problem with people who are honest and just say "yeah, would love to serve". And there were a few people who did that, and I respect the hell out of them. These are not the people I am talking about. The people I am talking about will lie directly to your face about not wanting to serve, and then will essentially audition for the judge. I would say 90% of those I saw interviewed fit into this category. And let me tell you... I talked to a lot of people as well. My main objective was to claw out of serving, and clearly their main objective was to stay in the pool. I will talk more about this later.

People who claimed having serious illness while in private would get called to talk to the judge and reappear. For instance one woman I talked to went on and on about how she had diabetes and had family issues. I learned fairly early on that up to that point, everyone who had been called into see the judge privately had entered the elevator and left. Which is what I had thought had happened to this woman. There were a lot of people and I hadn't seen her for a while. So when she popped back up I was a little shocked.

While out on a break we began talking and I made mention that I thought they had tossed her for her health reasons. She immediately changed the subject. After talking for a good while about other stuff I again inquired why she was still around, and she again completely avoided the subject. It was at this point I realized she wanted to be there.

After a few days I saw so much of this behavior I became really pissed. After all - these people wanted to serve, and it was most of the jury pool. I however didn't want to serve and clearly stated it and I found myself realizing that it would be a very long time before I was able to address the judge and tell him there was no way he was turning me around. At this point the judge is getting through 5 people a day. With the 2 hour lunches, and people using the courts time as a platform for all sorts of reasons. I will also talk more about this later.

Now I know you are probably thinking, well most of these people were lying so why would the judge believe you? This is why.

I found that a very small percentage of people were honest on their questionnaires and like me - said they could not be objective or had a financial hardship. These people relatively immediately got dismissed. There was very clearly a difference between those people and the people who were trying to stay on the jury. The judge addressed very specific questions from the questionnaire, and every single person that was resolute in their answers were never being turned back from leaving that room.

I spent less than a week in screening and I could distinguish these people immediately. It was so insanely obvious.

To be continued....

How everything I knew about Jury Duty was wrong, and how it changed my view on the system. Part I.

I can not express how happy I am today. Not the "yeah" kind of happy. The kind where everyone can see a difference and everyone comments about it.

You see I got "dismissed" from service yesterday. I finally had to forcibly tap out of serving by claiming a medical reason, and I don't feel one bit of guilt about it. I have never in my life heard of anyone having the experience I had these two weeks, and while it was an excruciating experience - the lessons I learned are invaluable. So here goes....

First a little background:

I have to start out saying that over the years I have felt a good deal of guilt about my jury service dodging. You see, I sort of always felt like an asshole for shirking my duty and putting the burden on others who I always thought were just as unhappy at getting called up for service as I was. I had never met anyone who said they hadn't tried to get out of serving, and wasn't pissed about serving. So I had this preconceived notion that everyone hated to the core being called in to serve.

Since it actually takes a great amount of effort in my county to get out of jury service I decided to bite the bullet, and just get it out of the way this time so they would leave me alone for a whole year. And they will call me one year from todays date - precisely. Thank you computer databases.

When my number was called I was unhappy - but I figured I would just go in - fill out the questionnaire as I had done a previous time, and that would be that.

You see my reserve nerve for the violence that goes on in that side of the county is long dead. I don't know how many people died in the last week for obvious reasons, but last Saturday it hit 128 for the year. Thats right... someone dies in that city on average every 3 days. 10 times the national average, and was actually named in the top 10 most dangerous cities this year. Since I was a kid, it has never gotten better, only worse despite being surrounded on all sides by endless opportunity. This isn't Detroit folks.

So understandably I thought that clearly stating in my questionnaire that I could not be an objective juror would have immediately have gotten me tossed. And honestly I was being truthful. I blogged about it here. But it didn't. The next step was the "getting to know you phase" in which the judge questioned you about your history.

The first juror to be questioned was a full on dissenting Berkeley grad. This set up a series of events that started to unfold that I wouldn't fully comprehend for two days.

The first day 15 jurors had gotten questioned by the judge, and 12 seated. I wasn't happy about only getting through 15 people for the day, considering by my count there were roughly 120 people to go through. 3 people had been dismissed, but I thought since the other 12 had been seated it was only a matter of picking the alternates. I thought, "we'll be done tomorrow".

On day 2 we came in, and the lawyers for each of the three defendants and the prosecution got the chance to question those 12 people and immediately started tossing people "for cause". So this meant that new people would go up to be questioned by the judge. Let me remind you that the first 12 were all highly educated people, and this set up a bizarre feedback loop.

Because these people were so smart, new people being questioned felt they had to compete with the previous persons education. What started out being a 15 minute "getting to know you" session turned into an hour for each person by the end of the second day. Not one person by this time had less than a Bachelors degree, and some had advanced degrees.

By the third day they all started pulling out every single educational course they had ever taken. Even that time they went to band camp. At this point I am starting to think the judge is just hoping the defendants will die of natural causes before he has to actually seat a jury.

Oh and it gets so much worse, but I think I will have to continue a little later today. There is so much to tell and I'm going to have to break it up into segments.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Just in-case you were wondering.

Life is revolving around jury duty right now. With 10 hour days being at court, and getting to and from court. I hope to have some good stories to post maybe on Friday.

Not about the trial, but about how completely unusual the process has been.

You want to know how to piss lawyers off? Send them to jury duty. Today after running into my third lawyer in three days in the jury pool, I started counting seats. When I realized that my guestimate was 4 lawyers in slightly less than a 100 people I started asking questions. I wanted to know what the percentage of the general population had a law degree, because the amount of lawyers in this pool seemed oddly high. The civil attorney I was chatting with said it runs about 4%, but that California is a little higher at about 6%.

Okay... so I think.. maybe this is about average. But wouldn't you know it, one of the last jurors called to be questioned today was a lawyer. The last juror wasn't one, but his wife was.

So either there is a lot of suing going on in California, or there are a lot of lawyers without jobs.

Friday, November 03, 2006

And you think your tattoo is clever.

I'm really over the whole tattoo phase... but you really have to give this guy points for creativity.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Again with the fastlane?

I bet most people thought I was just exaggerating about the people who camp out in the fast-lane and don't have anyone in front of them for a mile. Interestingly, if you start taking cell phone pictures they move out of the way.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I told you they wouldn't want me.... but they do.

I got to spend a lot the Halloween holiday in the courthouse. You see... I'm still in the Jury pool.

I know I will have to stop talking about this soon, but I am starting to loose hope that I will escape loosing a big chunk of time for this trial. Either I am crazy, or they are crazy. My husband just thinks they are desperate. He thinks this is why our number comes up so often, and the reason they are being so aggressive.

I did find out that if you don't show up, they will track you down. If they can't track you down - they will issue a bench warrant. I had read of this happening, but no one in my circle knew for sure.

After we filed into the courtroom, the clerk administered roll call. A few people did not reply when their names were called, and the clerk said they were going to "attempt to track those people down". I was listening intently, because to be quite honest - I was sure my answers to the jury questions would have axed me, and I thought about not showing up. After about 15 minutes of the clerk being on the phone I heard her say "you need to get down here right away". Which totally freaked me out.

After the judge dismissed people, and I realized my name wasn't called everyone filed out and into the elevator. I made small talk with another gentleman who turned out to be a lawyer. He also was on the jury pool, which I found fascinating. He told me it was a myth that lawyers got dismissed from the pools.

All I know is that there are a billion and a half reasons why I am not right for this case. I'm hoping statistically I still have a chance... there are 8 groups. I still have a chance right? Maybe if I start preparing for the worst, the best will happen.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy f-ing Halloween.

You see folks... I'm in a really bad mood. My government has turned against me because I vote and drive. I soon will be serving Jury Duty on trials for people dodging jury duty. Because they are just being that hard-core.

Okay.. am I the only one who thinks it is a little crazy to have to go up to a high crime area on Halloween? I would take my camera, but I am a little nervous of being mugged. I'm not being a complete baby here.. the police don't even want to work in this town. They have had constant recruiting problems. And there are some places the police wont even go in unless there is a murder. How f-ed up is it that I have to go to the courthouse on Halloween of all days?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Why do these people drive in the fastlane?

I know this is a horrible fuzzy photo. I'd like to say it is to protect my identity. Truthfully, my husband felt he had to get in front of this guy or forever be stuck behind him. You'd think he was trying to pass that truck in the middle lane. Yeah... not so much.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves right now. You can see no one is in front of him right?

Why is it people camp out in the fast lane going slightly slower than the rest of traffic? They refuse to move. Not to mention, you have to crawl up on middle lane guys ass to get by the person in the fast lane.

This freeway was actually pretty empty. Usually this guy is in the fast lane of a packed freeway with no cars in front of him for honestly a mile.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Evil Pumpkin Snowman.

This is what you get when it never stops being sunny.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

One of these things is not like the other.

I was checking out the robotic vacuum display today at a Fry's Electronics. At first when I saw this Cleanmate 365, I thought it was an iRobot product. I didn't remember this model, and looked all over the box to see who made it. Couldn't find a manufacturer anywhere. But it was certainly trying to pass itself off as a Roomba. Most people would have thought they bought a Roomba until they had gotten it home.

Click to enlarge.

Turns out it is made by Metapo. Of all the stupid names... Metapoo? I think it is super funny under the companies news section is reads....

"We have received an overwhelmingly positive response after our CleanMate product announcement at the 2005 CES Show in Las Vegas".

I guess sense the response must not have stayed as positive if Metapo is trying to pass themselves off as a Roomba.

And this deception was fully intended. This was the line of vacuum cleaners Fry's Electronics sells. Metapo could have very easily had their own display.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A little Celebrity watching.

Night before last we took a little time to visit a local film festival.

I wouldn't consider myself a real fan of too many celebrities. I mean.. I watch TV, but being a real fan just isn't my thing too much. When I heard that Adrianne Curry and Christopher Knight would be hosting the event, I thought it would be fun to go. Because I admit.. I'm a reality show whore.

Okay.. the real reason we went is I was hoping for some celebrity primadonna meltdown. Actually, all the actors were really nice down to earth people. Even thought I admit, my husband had to point out all of them except Adrianne and Christopher. It sounds stupid, but I won't really watch very much TV made before the year 2000. My husband on the other hand is an old film buff.

So when we got there I set to trying to find celebrities at the pre-screening party.

My husband is very tall, so after going out on celebrity re-con missions I would come back and my husband would say "Clint Howard was right next to you". By this time, he was all the way on the other side of the room. After a little while we had staked out a little corner, and Clint Howard came and stood right next to us.

All of a sudden I became a little pussy. I am kind of situationally shy. My husband saved me by making small talk with him about a local golf course. Even though my husband doesn't play golf. But he didn't want to do the whole " Clint, loved you in this " routine. And I actually had the balls to ask him for a photo. IMDB.

Here is a shot of Ian Gomez. I sort of recognized him, but only after my husband pointed him out.

And one of A. J. Buckley who I didn't recognize at all, but I guess has been on the various CSI's.

Here is one of Art LeFluer.

And this guy... my husband tells me it is Kevin Kilner.

For some reason this girl was hanging around. I don't think she was famous.. but you have to love when someone is trying to pull off those Wizard of Oz shoes. She also stood out quite a bit because everyone else was in business attire. I think she was trying to get noticed.

After about an hour I was beginning to be bummed because - no Adrianne Curry (IMDB) and Christopher Knight. Pretty much the only reason I wanted to show up at all. We all filed into the theatre and to my delight they both show up. I managed to get these photo's.