Thursday, August 31, 2006

I am a horrible evil person... and I am going to hell for sure.

Little background. My husband and I had to sell our old house because we had some troublesome neighbors. We worked our asses off to move, and get away from them. Because of the housing market at the time, we had to make sure the house had as few flaws as possible. So we had a lot of work done. Because we were just done and wanted to move.

One of those things was taking out single pane windows and putting in double pane.

Most people don't want to pay to have that done, and people scrunch their noses at houses that have old windows. Because honestly it gets pretty hot here. I called a bunch of contractors and got a bunch of bids. We wound up going with the largest company in our town. We figured...hopefully it would be the least hassle. They were huge after all. I told the company up front. I have to have a permit. I am selling this house. Like 10 times I said it. Over and over.

The guy comes out, and says there is going to be a 24 hour delay with the permit. I was okay with that until my roofer came out. Who I kind of had a history with on previous jobs. He told me to get on the ass of the window guys, because to start the job, they had to have the permit posted. So I did.

Turns out the company had let their license lapse. But on the contractor website it showed it was valid. I think he was late one or two days. He said he had paid and was just waiting for them to record it.

Did I mention they were the largest company in our town? Oh yeah.. I did.

From other contractors who I really trust, it happens somewhat often.

The payment to renew his license wasn't suppose to be recorded apparently for like 5-7 days. My windows were going to take 3 days, and I knew they would have no motivation to get the permit after the job was done. So.. I turned out having to get hissabitchy. But it wasn't like I didn't tell them a half a million times I needed a permit.

Also, they tried to convince me I had dry-rot when in fact I didn't.

Snap to today. I have a crappy back, and it is a chronic thing, so I don't really baby it. I just go to the chiropractor all the time. This guy comes in at the same time I did, and was looking at me. He looked familiar... but even though the old house was only 6 months ago... it is a million years in time for me.

It was like a million projects ago, so I really didn't know who the guy was. He outed himself to me. Asked how the windows were.. which immediately made my eyebrows narrow. Instead of being a bitch, I simply told him we moved from that house, and didn't say what I wanted to. Which was " I'd never use your f-ing company again".

So I am sitting there waiting for my "adjustment" and I could hear everything the guy was saying to my chiro who I have known for like 6 years. He wasn't being discrete or anything! And he was shaping up to be a whiney little bitch. Very loudly he was announcing that he was doing "clensings" and was describing the consistency of his bowels.

I couldn't f-ing believe it! He was practically crying about how he couldn't sleep.

At that very moment I went to hell. Because normally I don't wish pain on anyone.. no matter what kind of an asshole they are. But my first thought was "good, this guy deserves it".

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Late night sleepy husband with sleepy Saffron

I have to get a sweet bunny post in. My husband will probably hate that I chose this image.. (sorry in advance SPP) but I think it is really sweet.

Jane Doe's eye. Update.

I am going to try to make this entry as un-fragmented as I can.. but I am so pissed really. I'm not sure I can be successful. I apologize for the length.

Quick background - Jane Doe is one our bunnies, and the girl has glaucoma. Blogged about it here. After being stable for 6 months with the glaucoma, around the end of July she started favoring the eye. For example, squinting, and not keeping the eye open. At the time I started preparing myself for the possibility the eye would have to be taken. You don't hear about many cases, but I have read rabbits can do fine with one eye. Me - still not crazy about the idea. Nor was my "been through hell with me" vet. Sometimes you trade one set of problems for another. Plus.. her glaucoma by any measure appeared to be under control.

Back to her favoring of the eye. Turns out she had the smallest perceptible ulcer. About the size of a sharpened pencil head. It is obviously enough to make her unhappy. Went to my "been through hell with me" vet, and she urged me to go back to the eye specialist. Al-right fine. At that time I just had a weird feeling about them. They just seemed a little eye grabby happy. You can see from my previous entry (link) about this issue the eye actually looks pretty amazing considering.

The eye specialist debrided the eye. But never actually said that was what they were doing. Even though I watch them like a hawk. You might think the MD would say something like.. this pet is going to be in pain for a little while. But no.. I guess I am being difficult for wanting to know such things. This is what prompted the oatmeal can collar. We put her on Metacam for a few days which is your basic bunny aspirin or aleive. She was put on an exhaustive routine to get the ulcer stomped down. When I say exhaustive, I mean medication every hour.

The truth is.. guilt kept me on the hourly doses. If she eventually had to get the eye taken, I didn't want it to be because I was too lazy, or life became too complicated to do the routine. If the eye was going to go, I wanted my head to say "you did everything you possibly could - there is no way that eye could have been saved".

Jump forward to the beginning of August. I was beginning to be really pleased about the eye. It looked shiny. Her white margins seemed normal. So we went back to the eye specialist for the routine checkup. Glaucoma... wow.. so under control. However the ulcer was still as big, just not as deep as it was previously. The specialist floated the idea of again debriding the eye, and putting a coating of surgical grade super glue over the ulcer to protect it and promote vascularization. Not many sites talk about this procedure, but you can read about it here and here. I was told it would be less invasive than the original debradment, but it gave a 90% chance of knocking the ulcer out completely. Otherwise it might take 4 months of antibiotics. The specialist made it seem like "no big deal". My bad though.. I should have played 700 questions instead of 500 questions.

I had been in the waiting room 3 hours by the time I was able to be seen by the eye specialist the first time that day. They had an emergency. I completely understand. Now I am a total pet person, but by this point if I had to hear another story about how smart everyones pets are, I am going to throw myself down a flight of stairs. This was an emergency room atmosphere. Completely packed, standing room only, and everyone wanted to tell you stories. Which is great.. for like two hours. Not only that.... these people were the kind that wanted to talk baby talk to their pets in the waiting room. Now... e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e who has a pet does that. At home, so no one can see your tard ass. Each time I have been there, it is just this surreal experience. Queue the crazy cat woman on the Simson's. But only it is really tiny dogs with cones. Like all of them. And at least one eye is bulging out.

The other thing I didn't really appreciate...some woman walks in complaining about a leak. There lots of businesses in a fairly large - really old complex. Even (shudder) restaurants. Which didn't seem like a big deal, until this women walks in. I thought it was a neighboring business who shared a wall, and they had a leak together. Seems common. Oh... no.. the woman leaves, and the receptionist who I would say is a fairly simple person, tells everyone in the waiting room she has already told that woman she needs to contact management. That the woman is from the Chinese food restaurant underneath the eye specialist office. Okay....I know I probably look like super bitch because I constantly complain... but come on.. who of you out there doesn't think that is f-ing creapy weird?

I go back a couple hours later to get the super glue thing done, and spend another 2 hours there. Another woman and I talk about the whole experience at the office. I then realize she had been in the waiting room the whole time I was that morning. Off in a quiet-ish corner. Her first appointment was right before mine that morning. I'm pretty memorable.. because I don't have a tiny dog with a giant cone like everyone else. My new temporary friend has a giant dog, with a giant cone. I get home, and prepare to put the oatmeal collar on. The specialist at least says Jane will be in discomfort for 1-2 days. But still makes it seem like no big deal. Let me tell you... after about 4 days I am becoming a super pissed, because the girl went from an eye that looked good, and didn't hurt, to an animal that was bordering on inhumane treatment. I think I have royally f-ed up for making the choice to do this procedure.

I am absolutely not being dramatic or exaggerating. The eye was so inflamed I was sure she would loose it just based on trauma. I didn't want to go back to the specialist because I think they suck for not having any clue about pain management. They are only pets after-all. I figure, what can they do at this point except take the eye or put her through more pain. None of my options are good ones. I start resigning myself to having fought like crazy for this eye, only to have all that work reversed in one full swoop.

About four days ago I think I see the ulcer getting worse. The eye looks like crap, but honestly a million times better than it looked for two weeks. I take a flashlight to the eye, and wouldn't you f-ing know it...her eye is filled with veins. The area in the lower half of the eye that looks like a wave is nothing but blood vessels.

Today was Janes checkup, and I was totally conflicted. The treatment actually worked, even though it was my own little bit of hell. And hers. I got into see the specialist fairly quickly. While she was looking at the eye, as delicately as I could I admitted it was sort of hard to complain because of the results. But their pain management was non existent. I mean... come on. Scrape your eye, then put super glue on it and tell me that isn't painful. I have to be careful though, because these people are my only chance, unless I want to drive to UC Davis. Hours away. She looked directly at me and said "well, we don't have a lot of choices". Then said very little.

Um... okay. Not a "not a lot of choices" and "no choices" are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. And let me tell you.... not one of the three doctors ever brought up pain management. I kept choosing a different specialist at the office hoping I just got one of the sadistic ones. How about saying anything so your regular vet can help you manage pain! Finally after about day 10 and my girl still has not opened her eye, but she seems less painful and stable. I called my own vet an just pleaded for the future. Please I ask... even if I have to drive in every day so you can administer it, if this ever happens again, can you do something. Did I mention this was suppose to be minimally invasive? The thing is.. if my vet would have done surgery, Jane would have gotten immediate pain control. A narcotic, not bunny asperin. Because the specialist is really handling the eye issue, most vets defer to the specialist. The good news is Jane has turned a corner. Her Galcoma is in the range of a completely healthy eye. The ulcer is healing because of the new blood-flow. I am doing everything in my power so I don't have to see those f-ing people for a very long time, and my normal vet can take back over.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Is there such a thing as too much Robot Love?

Hopefully robomowers will become mainstream like Roomba's. Friendly Robotics is even trying to capitalize on the roomba name.

We have had ours for about two years. It moved with us to the new house. Other than the first out of the box problem, it has been a really good machine. The gentleman below however seems a little too excited. Link.

The link I provided used to work. I'm going to leave it in incase it comes back. The other thing I noticed about the guy in the picture is he is wearing surgical gloves... like maybe he doesn't want to touch dirt. I can understand garden gloves.. but surgical gloves?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

You've got to see these tiles!

While in the process of modeling our laundry room, and looking for design idea's, I ran across these tiles from Stone and Pewter Accents. Main site, and tile link. I certainly give them points for wow factor.

This isn't "my thing", but I have to admit, these tiles from Designer Glass Mosiacs are fascinating too.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

CNET'S top 5 worst tech : Themselves.

Okay... correct me if I am wrong. CNET reviews technology.... right? Because from their little TIVO "CNET tips for Digital Living" series, you really wouldn't be able to tell. Inexplicably they are completely unable to moderate their sound. From trade-shows where the "executive editor" refuses to hold a microphone, and is drowned out by the trade-show noise. (wait, let me turn the sound up so I can hear what they are saying) to a transition to host Molly Wood. (Holy shit! now I have to turn it down because it is 10 decibels higher.) Back to the office, where again, the "executive editor" is much lower and muffled because techies are not hosts, and don't know how to either emote or enunciate properly. Did I mention everyone is an "executive editor"? Every episode is like this. It's like playing volume ping-pong.

I'm sort of just sport bitching here because I could choose not to watch them, but I have a business need to watch the advertising on Tivo. I'm not going to explain what it is.

So my husband decides to email CNET, because frankly we can't figure out why an entity that is in the business of reviewing technology can't figure out such a really basic issue.

Despite CNET saying they wanted our tips and feedback, he couldn't easily find just an email address. Instead he gets a feedback "form". And certainly nothing that allows you to comment about the Tivo Digital Living Series. Even if you search on their site for anything Tivo, it only allows you to give reviews for the tivo boxes themselves, not their show on Tivo.

At any rate.. back to the form. After filling out the form he gets some such error, and then the form clears itself. So you can't even fix the error, and re-submit. You have to re-type everything in again. After trying to submit the feedback form both from explorer and Mozilla it becomes clear that will not let him use the form because of his security software not allowing a trackback.

Okay... are they kidding me?

My trouble with Seagate.

I can not even tell how you how much I hate constantly having to complain about companies. My constant bitching makes it seem like I am a really demanding person. But I really am not.

I just expect the things I buy to work for, say..... more than 3 months.

I even take some responsibility for this one because I bought some crappy technology. I just didn't know it at the time. I just saw "ooooh - 500gig disk drive". The truth is I didn't even know what the difference between serial ATA, and Ultra ATA was at the time. My bad.

So, I have taken my responsibility, now let me get on to the bitching.

Background: The first 500Gb drive we brought home was DOA. This should have been my first clue. We knew it was the drive, and not my computer, b/c we tried installing it on a couple of machines and it was dead on all of them. The store (which rhymes with Flies) swapped it right out. This was all back on May 13th.

Somewhere around the end of July my disk started acting up. I thought maybe I had a virus because my machine just started being really slow. I'm really good about keeping my anti-virus protection stuff up to date, and it turned out - no virus/spyware detected. The drive had also began running really hot. It seemed unusual that all of a sudden it would start doing that, but I read they ran hot and we got a fan just for the drive. They make them so you can just put it in the unused drive slots.

My husband had me install a hard-drive diagnostic tool called 'HDHealth'. After looking at HDhealth something was obviously wrong. The subsequent running of Seagate's diagnostic tool "Seatools" confirmed... This drive had had a heart attack and was on life support.

I knew the return process was going to suck.. it always does. So I call Seagate preparing for the worst.

I got through within a minute or two. Talked to a support guy who was super nice and offered right away to send me a new drive. I was in shock... super happy. I couldn't believe my luck. This never happens.

He says "we'll send one right out to you, let me see we have that drive in stock".[Queue ominous music and the sound of screeching of tires].

Them - we don't have that drive in stock. It will be about two weeks.

Me- You've got to be kidding right?

Them - no, there is nothing I can do about it.

Me- isn't like my drive is a year old. This drive is only 3 months old. Do you have an equivalent drive you can send me.

Them - No I can't do that, but here is my manager's number.

(I used to work in tech support- I know this is probably the guy in the cube right next to him) But I call anyway and plead my case.

My husband and I start debating whether to just go buy a new drive and just eat the cost which is pissing me off, because while I understand hardware failures, I don't understand having to just throw away almost 300 bucks for something that has been used for 3 months.

Several days after making the call to "the manager" he calls back. I didn't think he was even going to call back at this point and I am ready to never buy another Seagate product ever. He says he doesn't have my drive type but he can send me a refurb 180 gig drive as temporary replacement until they have more 500Gb in stock. Which was really nice. Although he put it on the slowest possible shipping method and it took like 9 days to get here from Florida.

We put it in, run HDhealth and it looks pretty f-ed up too. And wouldn't you know it... it failed within 3 days.

At this point I accept that there may be something about my machine that eats drives... but I still find it hard to believe it would eat a drive that quickly without some other catistropic symtom. Especially since Seagate is having horrible failure rates right now. Here, here. Seagate themselves list the rate at 0.34. That would mean you have a 1 in 3 chance of getting a bad drive. I'm a betting person and all... but right now my odds look pretty bad.

So now it has been 22 days and no replacement drive from Seagate for my orginal drive. They are closed on the weekend. Tuesday it will be 26 days. I can't even believe I have to call and bitch at another company whom I have already been on the phone to about 6 times.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How NOT to retain your longtime loyal customers - in 3 easy steps. Listen up XM.

1. Make sure your web-site is often unavailable.

2. Make sure your customers are unable to manage their accounts from your web-site on the rare days you can get to it.

3. Make sure your customers know you don't give a shit if they leave or not.

Oh yeah, and irritate them by having the login screen take up every bit of a 2000+ pixel monitor, and not allow your customers to resize the screen. This is an actual screen shot from my husbands machine when logging into the XM radio web-site. The black area is not his background. It is the unused portion of their login screen.

I want to start out saying that we were early adopters. We have probably been XM customers for 3-4 years.. I don't know.... A LONG time. Well before anyone thought people would pay for radio. The relationship was flawless until this past Christmas. Today I am downright pissed about it.

Rewind to this past Christmas. My husband bought me a Delphi XM hand-held. The unit was an out of the box hardware failure. (gritting teeth) I understand failures. Look at my other entries. The hardware issue however was not the irritating part.

We replaced the unit with one from another manufacturer. We thought it would be a simple issue to switch service from the failed unit radio ID, to the new unit ID. At that time the web-site wouldn't allow for this. It was Christmas, and they were obviously under-staffed on the phones. I think it took about a day to finally get a live person on the phone.

I sort of understood not being able to disconnect service from the web-site. I'm sure it is just a need to talk your customers out of leaving. Well... despite we weren't leaving, just changing radio IDS.

Fast forward to this weekend. We sold our old car, and wanted again to manage our account. I wanted to delete the handheld, and find out what notice they needed to cancel the car. I wanted the new owners to have a little time before the radio was shut off.

Wouldn't you f-ing know it, the web-site was unavailable. The web-site not working after 7 months is absolutely unacceptable. You still can not add or delete radios online. And that would be great if when you talked to someone on the phone they actually tried to talk you out of leaving. BUT THEY DONT! As a matter of a fact, customer service did none of the things customer service does. Like try to find out why/if you're not happy.

So they transfer me over to the disconnection department. I flip out. I make sure to tell the operator on the other line I wasn't yelling at her, but it seems to me that XM doesn't want to keep their customers at all. There is no harder customer to drive away than us. I complain about the web-site, and she confirms it is ridiculous that their web-site is still not working. She apparently gets that complaint a lot.

UPDATE: I waited to publish this entry, because of some other crazy stuff I will eventually complain about.

We started getting notices from XM to give them our credit card, because our new 3 month trial would soon be up for our replacement car. (gritting teeth again) Even though I made sure to tell them to put the new radio on our old account so we could just start getting billed automatically when I called to have them manage our account last time.

We have had the new car 2 months, and I've already gotten two notices. I figured I should do something about it. Despite thinking the trial service was for a year. Whatever.. things have been crazy, so perhaps I was misunderstanding.

So... first step. Go to their web-site. Hurray! We can log in. We have a huge credit on our account. (because we are under a trial period) So why are they sending us these notices? We have our credit card on file. Crap... wouldn't you know it, I'm going to have to call customer service.

All I want from them is to link our credit card to this radio so when the trial period is over - 3 months or 12 months, whatever- they will start charging us. Did I mention how long we have been customers with the same credit card number on file? Oh yeah.. I covered that.

Apparently... customer service can not do this until a few weeks before our trial period expires. So I have to call them back. But how the F am I going to know when that is, because they are sending me notices every two weeks. By this time my husband is talking to them, due to my accelerating sarcasm. I'm not nasty... and I do laugh while I am telling him to tell them - that if our service gets cut off, I am going to call them back and completely wig out. She claims she stuck this in the notes.. I'm sure it just says difficult.

The thing is, I have had to call them 5 times this year, for things that could be simply handled from their web-site.

The answer is to change right?

Well.. I have to admit, we did get a Sirius unit very recently. The differences are pretty interesting. First...if you drive down a tree lined street. That is enough to stop your signal. Sometimes you just loose signal for no apparent reason. XM doesn't do that. The other...(tortured look) they have got me stuck in the f-ing 70's. For instance this morning flipping through the channels I was greeted with RUSH on two channels. The Beetles, (old)Santana, Led Zepplin, and I forget what else. I went though 30 channels before escaping that era. This wasn't even from the listed retro and hair band channels. Which is another 30+ channels. They have a freaking channel just dedicated to Elvis for christ sakes, and some Jimmy Buffet guy. A whole channel each!

So to sum things up.... XM customer service sucks, but the Sirius content sucks. Customer service at Sirius was actually really good. XM would be really good if they just fixed their web-site to take pressure off their customer service reps. I get the impression they get bitched at a lot. Unfortunatly I had to be one of the masses.

And frankly.. I dont enjoy it. What happen to the good old days when it took one call to get something solved? Now it seems on average it takes three... I really have better things to do with my day.

When Bunnies Smile. Part II

Part I here.

Time for a new project.

Well....the amnesia from our last tile project seems to have finally set in. I'm starting to fantasize about glass tiles. As if the last project wasn't easily the hardest job we have ever done. I will post an update when I get my native machine up, and files restored. So, while out trying to find design ideas we ran across these.

Now, I would never put these in my house. But I am oddly fascinated by them. They look like bubbles. I can't imagine how hideously hard the grout work would be, and how many times I would freak out trying to make it look right. Not to mention the shaving of years in my husband's lifespan when they inevitably need to be cut.

They do make me wonder what application you could use them for without making the whole thing look like a piece of crap. Which I absolutely can't. Not to mention how hard they would be to clean.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fun was had by none.

Don't believe me? Look at these faces.

I know it always seems like I am complaining about something. So far life is failing to live up to my, apparently too high expectations. This was suppose to be a tranquil day at the Montery Bay Aquarium.

The television tells me the economy is bad. So far I have yet to see anything that makes me think this. In fact, the place was so crowded, we had to leave after an hour. This was the line to get in.

Once you get to the end of the line you think you are home free.. This is the line inside.

Just to see this.

And well... maybe this.

You couldn't get close to any of the exhibits. The whole downtown was cram packed. After the constant wailing of infants. Normal children noise. Being constantly jostled, and just not being able to view the displays, I couldn't even stand to sit down in a nice restaurant in Montery. Oh yeah.. and the bumper to bumper traffic both ways, on a Sunday. Which also tells me the economy can't be that bad.

Monday, August 14, 2006

What did the five fingers say to the face?


This is what AT&T is doing to Comcast at this very moment. They are taking advantage of a devastating (for the company) weakness with Comcast service.

When this happens........

People get really f-ing pissed. What makes them even more pissed? Not being able to use a land-line phone. Doesn't seem like the huge deal I am making it out to be? Be without power for 23 hours and see how far that cell phone battery takes you. Sadly.. I was one of the lucky ones... There were many reports of people being out of power for days.

Unfortunately.... you don't even have to loose power to go technologically dark. So when Comcast called a week after the power outage to sell me services, I was so pissed I told them they were the last people on earth who should be calling me.

Since moving into my new place four months ago, I have had 3 complete Comcast outages. One was do to the heat index and resulting power losses. The others.. who the F knows.

So when Comcast again called yesterday to ask about the nature of my last call, and what my customer satisfaction was. I let loose. I was so pissed about the other stuff that I forgot to even complain about HD content.

Don't I pay extra every month for HD.. yes I do. I have previously blogged about it here.

Later that day I told my husband with glee they called to let me bitch at them. Ironically at that very moment we heard an ad on TV bitching about who else? Comcast. It turns out the issue must be big enough that AT&T has run a whole ad campaign to capitalize on the weakness. Apparently that random call wasn't so random. The ad campaign must be making a difference to Comcast. I have never had them call to see what my satisfaction level was.

Unfortunately with so few choices... changing providers is a little like trying to figure out which side of the apple is less rotten.

I'm not just sport bitching. But I'd rather not go through all the trouble of switching only to find myself in a rather similar predicament. Which is why I am not currently at AT&T.