Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Comcast Battle Rages On.

About a week ago Tivo stopped recording some of our premium cable channels - like Showtime.

The first sign that something was wrong was when "Penn & Teller's Bullshit" failed to record. But we wrote it off as a glitch, and told Tivo to re-record the next showing. But when that failed too, we started to try and figure out what was going on. We flip over to Showtime and realize we are getting a cable card error and no picture. This of course results in us needing to call Comcast tech support. I can hear you regular readers gasping. No I didn't freak out. Yet.

As many of you probably guessed - we were not able to fix the problem on the phone, and an on-site service visit was scheduled. Still no freak out. We called on a Monday and the tech was supposed to come out today (Thursday).

Okay.. here comes the irritating part. Yesterday, my husband emails me this link from the Tivo forums. Apparently a ton of people in the Bay Area are having the same problem. We are all in a 50 mile radius. You'd think our support people might have gotten the news of the problem. At any rate.. I think "there is no way I'm calling Comcast again - I've already talked to them this month".

My husband and I debate whether we are going to let the tech come, or sit on hold for however long it takes to get support to fix the problem. Because it doesn't require a tech to come out at all. Neither solution seemed great. Some people on the Tivo forum have had support come out up to seven times. They don't bring the right cards, or not enough cards. On the flip side, people have had to call support back many times too.

Being the calm person he is.. my husbands decides to call. He walks the support person through getting the box to work. And he gets them to give us one week's credit for the time we have been without our channels. It was effortless. Amazing in fact. Even though I was still a little irritated that we have to walk a company through fixing our problem.

When he got off the phone I asked Mr Snarkolepsy how I got so lucky to have such a patient husband?

Him - Process of elimination.

Me - What?!

Him - A man who wasn't patient wouldn't marry you.

Me - What does that mean?

Him - You made all your boyfriends jump thru hoops, and were always giving them little tests. Most guys would have given up, so by default any man who passes all your tests would have to be patient.

Me- Well, maybe I wouldn't have married them.

Him - Yeah.. that's just another way of saying it.

Me - Shut up!

Me - Comcast was lucky to not get your "don't fuck with me" voice. How come you didn't yell at them?

Him - This was just another way to get them to do what I wanted. It was a "win/win".

Me- But Babe, its suppose to be a "when/when". When do I get to yell at them?

For the record - I never wind up yelling at anyone. Except inside my head.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Week in Review.

Last week was downright exhausting. My roof is fantastic BTW, but it didn't come without taking a toll on my reserve nerve. My greatest wish is that I can get through one contractor project without being completely fed up.

Up until Thursday, it was just standard contractor baby-sitting issues. Then -everything went sideways.

The master bedroom in this house is up on the second floor. Which means there are downspouts from the second floor roof - which takes water from the second floor onto the first floor roof. But they hadn't stuck on part of the first floor roof. One of the guys was up on the second floor roof hosing it down. Causing water to pour into the garage. That was my first freak-out.

Then that evening I'd noticed that the remaining worker had started peeing on the side of the house. I'm not going to pretend I don't know this stuff happens. Not crazy about it. But the workers are on-site all day, and they aren't going to jump in their car and go to a bathroom. I just don't want to know about it. So - I talked to my roofer.

Me - you need to talk to your guy and tell him to stop peeing on the side of my house.
Him - He's not peeing on the side of the house. He knows not to do that.
Me - He is peeing on the side of my house. He picked the only area in my yard that doesn't get any water. And besides, it is directly in a corner, so it is really obvious.

The next day I walk out there and wouldn't you know it. He had done it again. I go to talk to my roofer again.

Me - did you talk to your guy?

Him - Mrs. Snarkolepsy, he isn't peeing on the side of your house.
Me- yes he f-ing is.

Him - show me. Then he screams "hey worker - stop peeing on the side of the house".

The worker immediately starts to deny it, and act like he doesn't understand what I'm talking about. This causes me to freak and start confronting the guy directly. "Look worker", I say - "don't try to act like you don't know what I'm talking about. Stop using my house like a bathroom". At this point my agro level is on supernova.

I'm still not sure why guys are so confused why stuff like this pisses women off.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Not Crime Free After All.

Dear Readers... it has been a really hard week. I will give a re-cap soon.

I'd hoped to have a fairly relaxing weekend. The only thing I really wanted to do is get landscaping bark off one side of the driveway, so we could stop parking one of the cars on the street. Saturday we spent a good deal of the day doing that.

I figured the rest of the weekend we would grow ass-roots.

We thought about going to a BBQ today, but Mr Snarkolepsy and I both have the Maker Faire plague. Since my husbands friends have fairly young children, we felt it wasn't a great idea to pass along our germs. But I digress.

Anyway, so far it has been anything but a relaxing weekend.

Yesterday morning I wake up. Stumble into the kitchen to get coffee, and look out my front window. Even in my non caffeinated state I notice the car that is still parked on the street - is covered with something. From the house it looks like spray paint.

I immediately run out there, and find it is some kind of dust. It sort of looks like cake mix, and is sparkly like snow. My first thought was - it's something that when mixed with water is going to eat the paint. So, I gather some up to see what happens when water is added to it.

It doesn't seem to react to water, but causes a oil slick to form. Still unsure what the substance is - I did one of the least bright moves ever. I tasted some. When it turned out really salty and not sweet like cake mix - I started to wonder if I had just poisoned myself. Since you are reading this..I obviously survived.

It all did manage to wash off. Which is a huge relief. Even though dust streams out of the window cracks when you drive. But still super irritating. Especially since this is the second time we have been hit. Two weeks after we moved into this house, a few cars on the street were egged including us. A car also had it's window broken out, but they live closer to a kid block. I didn't think much about it at the time.

We have become pretty close to the neighbors, and yesterday they told my husband that this kind of stuff doesn't happen often on our block. But it does happen. They've had tires slashed. Their house paint balled, and a licence plate stolen which wound up in San Fransisco.

After the egging they told us they had their garage broken into. But I thought it was "just one of those things" that happens sometimes. The thing is - this is not a bad neighborhood.

So - we decided to put up a security system. Which is sort of a bummer for me. We somehow have to figure out how to blend the security cams so the place doesn't look like a prison. Of all the houses to vandalise...hitting ours was the least smart, because we are the most likely to put a camera system.

The system we chose was from Luk Werks. Mainly because we had seen them at CES, and I was pretty impressed at the time. Hopefully it will do what we need it to do.

It might be nice if since the cops are ticketing people for parking too far away from the curb, they might send some extra f-ing patrols around.

Oh - did I mention how super thrilled I am to have an add-on project? Setting up the system should eat a weekend.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Bunnies + Benadryl = Chin Hair.

Mr. Snarkolepsy and I thought we were making good progress with Paisleys' balding problem. We started her on baby benadryl, and changed laundry detergents.

Even though I have a hard time accepting she can be allergic to detergent.

See.. even her chin hair was starting to grow back.

So, we began to think maybe she was having an allergic reaction the whole time, and not an OCD problem. Kind of a bummer, because rabbit allergies are not something I would have thought could be a problem.

Her ear was even starting to look better. Until last night.

We think she might be having a reaction to Vaseline.

Her ear was looking fabulous and her hair was growing back. But she was starting to get a little dry scaly-ness. So, two nights ago I put a little Vaseline on her ear to relieve the dryness. All of a sudden last night her ear looks more inflamed than ever, and she's all swollen up. Back to square one.

Now I don't know what to put on the ear, because she tolerated Vaseline really well in the beginning. Now, not so much.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It was so beautiful.

It was day 4... and my contractors hadn't done anything to make me that crazy.


They tried to flood my garage. If I can just make it through one more day, maybe I can find a happy place in my mind and have a relaxing weekend.

After all.. the new roof brings the promise of being able to BBQ without burning my house down. And hopefully the cover we bought for the BBQ (like the lid on this item) will come tomorrow. So I don't have to worry about burning other peoples houses down. The fire danger in California is really bad this year.

Another Comcast Story.

For months I've been getting offers from Comcast Cable to upgrade my current phone service to their new Digital Phone Service. I haven't seen any need. My main resistance is - I just want to go two months without having to deal with them somehow.

Plus, my phone service works fine - when I'm not having an outage. Since all my services from Comcast go down at the same time, I don't think upgrading to Digital Phone Service is going to make any difference for me.

So - today I get an automated phone message from Comcast saying they were "discontinuing" my phone service. But wanted to thank me for being a Comcast customer. Not sure if they were going to transfer me to the new service or just cut my phone, I figured I should call.

When I reach a Comcast support rep., she immediately starts giving me a sales pitch.

At the first point I can make verbal entry I tell her " I don't know why you are trying to sell me on the product - I don't have a choice". She giggles and replies " yeah - thats right.. you don't have a choice". Not in a snotty way..but what else can she say? Unless I want to change phone providers, I don't have a choice.

The phone rep asks me if I want to upgrade to the new service. Which, I know they have to do because of federal law or something. So I agree. She then tells me "well, for you - we are waiving the installation fee". Um yeah. Thanks, but thats a really good thing, because I don't have a choice. When I tell her this, she again laughs nervously, and repeats "thats right, you don't really have a choice". This happened 5 times.

And I will try not to be irritated she asked me what number I wanted to upgrade - when to pull up my account I had to give her my phone number.

Finally she puts me on hold to book my appointment. Yep, thats right. Comcast has to come to my house. I'm overjoyed.

A new interesting factoid is when Comcast comes out now, they apparently ID check you. When I asked why I had to have my ID she asks "this is your account right'?

No - I just gave you the answers to all the security questions because this isn't my account. She goes onto say "well, someone could be at your house and take off with the new equipment, and you would be billed for it".

Really? Someone is going to steal my phone equipment? And BTW - you can see how long I've been a customer. I bet you can probably see my house is jam packed with your equipment. Thats okay...I have to prove myself to you.

Honestly - I don't mind so much proving who I am, but don't give me a ridiculous story about it. Oh yeah, and if the person on the account can't be there, someone else over 18 can - as long as they have a copy of your ID. So much for someone else stealing the equiptment.

But - thats okay Comcast - expect your tech to be unhappy. Because I'm not letting them run the phone line through my carpeted floor like when I moved into this house. Back then I was so stressed about everything else it wasn't work haggling over. This time your tech gets to get into my really tight crawl space.

I might have been a little more flexible if your company wasn't a constant source of irritation.

When I get old.

I vow to never use the word "darling" to describe something.

Example: " Oh - that is just darling"

Are people saying this when they are younger and I just don't notice it?

When I get old... I vow to never use the year something happened to tell a story.

Especially if it's more than 10 years ago. I know a person who does this all the time, and it kind of bugs me. You know a story is going to be long when it includes a date. How do they remember what happened in 1979 anyway?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Crime Free City.

That can be the only explanation as to why I got ticketed twice for parking too far away from the curb. Of course the driveway is filled with a roofing trailer, and I have miscellaneous contractors coming and going every minute. So I have my cars out on the street. One car is clearly in violation. Parked at 23 inches away from the curb. The other car was exactly 18 inches. Which is what the code is.

I am now 80 bucks poorer, and really pissed off.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In Today's Really Lame Story.

See video from

A mysterious four-foot robot that prompted police to shut down an area around a Curtis State Office Building on the Capitol grounds in Topeka has not been found to be a hazard.

Kansas Highway Patrol Lieutenant John Eichkorn says maintenance workers notified authorities about the robot Tuesday morning because no one received permission to display it.

A completely valid reason to bring out the bomb squad. Right? I mean...we all know the best way to blow things up - is to create a somewhat detailed robot.

This is shades of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Meaning - totally ridiculous. It doesn't even have a digital countdown clock like on 24.

Monday, May 21, 2007

They f-ing better be made of Cashmere!

Honestly.. this is how much is costs to get these damn dust artifacts from my camera mirror? I did manage to get the tiny threads to go away. But jeez.. 4 bucks a pop for something I get to use once?

This can not be legal - right?

The debris from my roof is, well... stacked as high as my roof. About 9 or 10 feet. I would not want to drive this thing down the freeway.

Way too Close.

This is the view from my deck.

If I didn't have my guys taking the wood shake roof off at this very moment - I would be freaking out. The saving grace is this is one of the few moments it isn't windy. Not your average kind of wind, but unrelenting day after day wind.

It was making me crazy. Until yesterday - one of the neighbors told my husband it was bothering them too. So - I felt a little more normal.

This is the fire on the ground.

I haven't seen any fire planes yet (like last year)... so it isn't that bad. But still enough to make me shit my pants.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Maker Faire '07 - Part 8.

This gal seemed to be hosting the power tool races.

One thing that was a little surpising is - I wasn't my normal shy self. So I wound up just asking a lot of people to pose. They were all very nice. If you see yourself here. Thanks!

These people said they were from the Discovery Channel. They were interviewing one of the builders from power tool racing. Which I wish I would have gotten more shots of. I was just a wee bit on the ADD side at that point and easily distracted.

This grrl seemed vaugly familiar. I'm not sure who she was, but she had a camera crew.

Interactive LED display.

Each time I go to a robotic event I get pictures of the 3D laser printers. Seen here, and here. You have to scroll through the posts to find them. I like to track how much they are coming down in price.

Maker Faire '07 - Part 7.

I know I should set up a Flickr type account.. but someone already started operating under snarkolepsy like a year ago. Plus... I have a weird resistance.

See the tiny helicopter? I wanted to get a better shot of it, but the guy doing the flying wasn't co-operating with me at all. Once I started trying to take photos of it, he started flying it at the ground level.

Blogger Meltdown.

Blogger is just un-workable today. I will try to post more pictures later. Unless I decide to switch to TypePad, or WordPress.

Maker Faire '07 - Part 6.

Finally... the Robots!

If you look back through my blog, you'll see I've been covering robotic events for years. Truth be told, my dream job would be a robo-event reviewer.

Some years, I have been fairly irritated by the events. Which is why I never even bothered to post most of my pictures from this year's CES, including pictures of iRobot CEO Helen Greiner at their CES booth. And - I'll try not to be bitter the marketing guy stood me up.

My problem normally revolves around companies making products without the tiniest thought of why people might buy the item. They only know robotics are going to be popular, so they just try to put out something with the word "Robot" in it. From year to year these products fade away.

Luckily an iRobot Create team was there. Good job, iRobot. And, unlike CES, most of their toys were actually working.

There was the Hacking Roomba guy. Tod Kurt.

Roomba Spirograph.

However - there was a standout for me this year. A product from Revell.

It had a very good grasping arm.

It also had a video camera. In this case the combination worked very well.

I didn't take any pictures of the Robogames. I couldn't get close enough to the arena to get a good shot. They have an event in San Fransisco next month anyway.

But - I'm hoping they were able to recruit enough participants from Maker Faire to make it a more interesting event. Especially since the Battlebot craze is becoming less popular. Things are trending more towards FIRST Robotics competitions.

Microsoft was also there.

Below is a robot bartender, programmed using the MS robotics sw.

And of course what would a robotics show be without some celebrity cameos?

Maker Faire '07 - Part 5.

Is this the saddest kid you've ever seen - or what? For me not so much.

Mr Snarkolepsy and I dropped by the Dutch Baby House on the way to Maker this morning. Seated to Mr Snarkolepsy's back - my front - was a woman and her son.

This woman immediately got onto my radar because she looked like she wanted to die. The whole time we had breakfast - this woman's eyes did nothing but roam the restaurant. Her son (I assume - maybe I shouldn't) was playing a game boy or something. But he looked like an angry child. The mother and son were there before we got seated, and I don't think I saw her say one word to him. He was probably 10 years old.

At any rate she looked miserable, and I couldn't figure out why she would bother taking the child somewhere, because they both seemed very unhappy to be with each other.

About this time Mr Snarkolepsy and actually ran into some people we knew from a company that both Mr. S and I worked at several years ago. There were a ton of people there, and we wound up running into people we knew a couple of times. Small techie world I guess.

If you like puppets. Me not so much. But they were very nice people. The camera causes people to be very open. So I actually wound up talking to them a little earlier in the day.

Okay, I have to admit I thought these were the mooninites.

Maker Faire '07 - Part 4.

Text reads:

Artcar Fest September 27-30, 2007. Last weekend in September.
100 Artcars from Around the world coming to Berkley, San Fransisco, Oakland & the Santa Cruz Museum of Art.

Maker Faire '07 - Part 3.

Veronica Belmont of CNET.

This round table was one of the more interesting things I saw. You could spin the circle and make differenet patterns.