Friday, August 30, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Don't fear the...

I've been meaning to get this for a couple of weeks. Grafitti doesn't stay around long. No one has touched the reaper since he went up.

Back on the contractor rodeo.

I wouldn't necessarily pick right now to do a project. It's one of those things that if I don't do it now I have to wait until next summer because it involves my fireplace. I'm kinda forced into it because of that. I'm pretty handy, but this is completely out of my comfort zone. And I know my limits.  So, with my contractor tolerance barely repaired - I'm jumping in.

This is the thing about contractors, and I've lost count how many I've known - they are all a little bit crazy. They are salt of the earth kinda guys. Except for the robbing part. Oh! They will rob you if you don't keep an eye on them. But they are generally good guys. They are mostly sort of extreme guys who are at the fringes of normal. They are savage conspiracy theorists. The stuff these guys come up with... I just shake my head at. And it takes a lot of work untangling the logic. And they tell you this stuff with the deepest conviction. Contractor logic is really fuzzy logic. And they don't use Google at all. Because even Google is like - yeah...we've never heard of that one. And then Google chuckles.

The other thing about contractors is - for dudes they sure act a lot like chicks. Contractors are hens of the highest order. They talk non stop. They gossip. Which is probably how these silly stories they tell me get passed around like a game of telephone.

And this is all the crap before they start tearing my shit apart.

Lastly, I think, they are all a little bit racists. The target switches, but they are constantly upset that some demographic is trying to take their jobs. And so they spread silly stuff about how they are getting an advantage over them. Like my guy was trying to convince me that employers get a tax break for hiring h1b visa workers. Now, the world is not the same as it always was in the before times - but it used to be really expensive to hire visa workers. The company has to foot the cost of the visa and all the taxes. Tech companies have been hiring people from all over on Visas the whole time I've been of working age. But under PMB's world, maybe they are giving companies tax breaks now, I think. A Google search away turned out it isn't actually true. But I bet every single contractor I talk to will tell me that meme. Because they all reinforce their fuzzy logic. Clucking like hens the whole time.

What does any of this have to do with my fireplace? Well, hiring a contractor is a journey. You put up with a lot of their quirks to get your shit fixed. I mean, they are funny guys. I learn a lot of stuff from them. But you constantly are trying to resolve how they can be so brilliant in one area, and think the craziest things. One contractor a while back was trying to convince me they were going to launch a death star into the sky. I was like - that's mathematically impossible.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Palo Alto Art Fest.

I got there late, so he chalk art would be more finished. Sadly that meant you were dodging shadows to get a good shot.

These people gave you a gentle tutorial about birds.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Your regularly scheduled program of Neighbor Wars has been canceled.

Last week the tree trimmers showed up to cut my neighbors trees to the back. Nothing happens fast in Obamas economy. Believe me. Nothing. It must have been a month ago my neighbor booked them. The interesting thing about this story is - they also showed up to trim the tree of the other neighbor I had a falling out with. The one who thought that you planted a tree and the whole village raised it and whatever fell from it was a miracle from above. Well, that last part I'm probably being bitchy about. But they definitely didn't think they had an obligation to trim the parts of their trees that hung over into my yard.

Keep with me now. I wanted the corner neighbor to trim their tree because it was making me insane. Here. They had a hissy fit so I decided I better have the guy to the back trim his trees before he became too entrenched in absorbing my land like the corner neighbor. This made him remember he has a beef with that other neighbor too because their tree was over his yard by about 30 feet and he wanted them to trim their tree as well..

You can see how giant this tree was from the front of the house. From the back it was so large you couldn't get it into one frame.

So, I woke up and the same company was working on both trees. Somehow the neighbors decided to co-ordinate the trimming. I was pretty stunned by this. And happy of course. I mean, they cleaned these trees out! At first I wasn't sure it wasn't some kind of a bitter - I'll show her! Because they really took so much off.

I went to the first neighbor, and they were thrilled. I asked them about the other neighbors because even though we'd had a falling out - I still wanted to thank them. I wasn't trying to be an asshole, their tree was just causing me so much work. I couldn't take it anymore.

I decided that no matter how the neighbor felt I was going to go over and tell her that I really appreciated the trim and it looked beautiful. No matter what our differences were. I also brought some Karas Cupcakes. How can you be shitty with cupcakes Yo? At any rate, we wound up hugging it out. Literally. And I think the balance of the universe has been restored.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I should learn to be a better suck up.

One of the funniest things that happened at Pebble Beach was when we found the McLaren Booth. Well.. it's more like a giant tent building. It turned out that they were having a private party, and they weren't letting anyone not on the list in. When Mr S. went to walk away he said - well, I guess we aren't going to see the new McLaren. We'll see Mr S. - we will see, I replied. At that moment I saw a bunch of people up on the elevated balcony.

I yelled out - excuse me! Can you take some pictures of the cars for me? And the guy said yes! There was a huge hedge between me and the guy, and the only way I was able to hand off my camera was with Mr S.'s long arms. When he came back I thanked him profusely. It was at that moment I saw people walking out of the reserved area, and I'd thought they'd briefly opened it up to everyone else. So I walked up and asked them if I could just go in and take a couple of pictures. No luck.

Just then I thought I better get some back up shots. You can not have enough pictures to chose from. So I walked back over the the elevated balcony and asked another guy if he could take some shots for me.

While I was waiting for him to come back, a lady who'd been sitting on a chaise lounge looked at me and said - didn't you just ask some other guy to take pictures for you? And she kinda hesitated as if to say - what's up with that.

I laughed and said - yeah, that was me. It's always good to have a few backup shots. We made some small talk while I was waiting. Then I asked her - did you get in? She sheepishly looked at the ground for a second and said - I know the McLarens. At that moment my head exploded. First she was a girl. A girl who was not all bimbo'ed out. Just a normal girl and she knew the McLarens. It was like she was rock star adjacent!

Later in the day I told Mr S. - I should have asked that girl how I could be her friend. He said - yeah, you should have sucked up to her. But anyone who reads this blog must know that isn't my thing.

All the shots in this post were taken by someone else with my camera.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Epitome Concept

From Laraki Motors.

Pebble beach was hardest than normal to get photographs in. The sky is so white it's like trying to take shots of cars in the Antarctic. So my shots are a little over saturated. It's why the roofs look a little blazed out. That color is reflecting on the cars. Pebble Beach just has a really high level of difficulty.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I finally got to level up.

After talking to 28 people at Comcast, I finally got access to ftp. I'm still leaving them, but my blog is really old now. I have all the images, but reassembling those images with all the posts would take a really long time. If I can just grab the dir from Comcast, I can just take it somewhere else.

You know, after a while I was sure I just wasn't articulating my problem very well. So, like in video games when you have to replay a level you have to do it slightly differently. Over and over I'd try to slightly change the way I was describing it. Mr S. even starting Googling the exact phrases from the Comcast site so he could make sure there was no misunderstanding.

The insanely frustrating thing was absolutely no one knew was FTP was or did. At one point I was yelling at a guy. I mean, really yelling. It was the only time I was shocked they didn't hang up on me!

I'm here to help you. This is where I had to ask him if he knew what FTP was. Yes, yes. File transfer protocol. In my mind I said at last. Only to realize seconds later he didn't know what it was. Http he said. FTP from the command prompt! I'd have to repeat what is was. I finally started having to ask them prove to me you know how to use FTP. How would you use it? I got the same thing over and over. It's like Yahoo the guy would respond. It not anything like yahoo!

And the complete frustrating thing was no one would admit they didn't know how to use it, and they refused to send me to someone who did. I'd be told I was getting a 2nd level support line, when the level of knowledge was exactly the same. I have probably 7 or 8 phone numbers. I even had to drive down to my local Comcast site and ask them if I could get a phone number of someone who was more technical.

Mr S. finally started dealing with them because he was sure I wasn't saying the right thing. Not that anyone who knew anything about networking would have misunderstood me, but 80% of the time you end up in India.

Eventually I found out there was a third line of support. I was sent over to Security Assurance who apparently was the only one who had control over what might be causing my problem. But they couldn't help me. Finally Mr S. talked to a guy named Mathew (the second Mathew he'd talked to) who looked at the Comcast forums which I linked in one of my other posts. He was the first guy to have any clue or any inclination to try and find the correct person to talk to. I don't remember what number Mathew #2 was. It was somewhere after talking to 20 people. I think he was in the 22-24 range. He actually had to call internally around Comcast to find out how to help, and he seemed embarrassed it was even hard for him internally to find someone.

At this point I'd given up. I'd mentally prepared to just devote a chunk of my life to reassembling my blog. Mr S. was still trying to find the magic power up to get through this level. And I guess he randomly tried to ftp in, and it worked. I immediately started to download my images to at least mirror my stuff so I could take it somewhere else. It was about 30 minutes later someone at Comcast actually called back. Rochelle told Mr S. that my access had been disabled due to a security scare, and that it wasn't her group because they usually try to contact the customer. But someone in the same group (security assurance) had apparently done it. I guess they shut down access if something triggers a security concern.

It looks like my swapping out of the modem was a completely random coincidence. But it would have been really nice if someone would have even notated my account. It would have saved - I don't know, I lost count at 12 man hours. And if I would have gone through the diags the techs wanted me to do, it would have been well more!

Additionally if Comcast wonders why their call volume is so high, it is because their tech ARE dumping calls. If you call from home, and they do not understand how to solve your problem they will just send a reset to the modem. At one point Mr S was "chatting" online with a tech and he started to flip out. Even though he'd specifically asked the guy not to reset out modem, he did. Chat over man. Chat over. My images are still broken, but I don't care. At least I can get at them. I can fix that next week.

Everyone at Comcast should fear for their jobs.

I have now talked to 25 techs at Comcast. And spent 10 HOURS on the phone. Of those 25, only three actually understood what FTP is. Which is confusing because they are a network company. THAT SEEMS PRETTY BASIC. Even more troubling, all the way up the ladder - listen I've talked to 8, 9, 12, 15, 23 people - not one of the techs are shocked. No sign of surprise at all actually. Not even an OMG.

I do not believe a company can survive with this kind of customer service. At this point I'm only in it to really find out how deep the level of dysfunction is. They've worn me down - which means they have lost my business.

They tranfer you to departments that can not help you, who then try to transfer you back. I've lost count of how many telephone numbers they've given me. I've been to 2nd level support 8 times.

Friday, August 16, 2013

I am at 13 calls now. I had Mr S. call because I'm on the edge of insanity. Where he was stuck on hold and disconnected. Not one of them will admit they do not understand what the problem is. And they just transfer me into a black hole because they don't know how to solve my problem.

I've had so many people hang up that this is obvious this doesn't happen in pockets. It's company wide culture. If they don't understand your question, they just put you on hold and you get disconnected. Problem solved. Looks great on paper.

All because I dared to upgrade my modem to get faster speeds. You can read about other people who've has this problem here.

How can Comcast stay in Business?

The last person I talked to said I needed to talk to signature support and gave me a number. When I called that number it was for phone support. Where I promptly freaked out.

I've talked to 11 people at Comcast and spent 3 hours. I've been to 2nd level support 3 times - I said. I'm just trying to find out who can help me. What does it take?!

I'm sorry Mrs. Snarkolepsy. This is the last time you will get transferred I promise.

She transfers me. And since there is no hold music - I'm sure I've been disconnected. But the line stays open for a few minutes. Guess what happened. Guess!

The line disconnects.

P.S. The number she gave me in case I got disconnected is not even a valid number. Says my call can not be completed at this time.

Comcast is obviously hiring people who have never heard of the Internet.

Right now I have talked to 11 people at Comcast. They are sending me back to 2nd level support. Which I've been at three times now. My issue is still not resolved. But they have found news ways to hang up on me. My "chat" with Comcast, took 45 minutes and before I could even respond to the last statement she sent a reset to my modem. Which she didn't tell me she was going to do. Chat ended. So I had to call them once again.

analyst Khara has entered room

Khara: Hello (real name here), Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Khara. Please give me one moment to review your information.

(real name here): My Issue: I upgraded my modem a couple of days ago, and the girl who activated it only did the modem. She did not activate my personal web page that I've been using for years.

Khara: Greetings! A pleasant day to you. I look forward to helping you today.

(real name here): Thank you

Khara: You are most welcome.

Khara: I understand that you want to activate your personal web page, am I right?

(real name here): Well, it was activated until I upgraded my modem. So yes. I just want you to turn it back on.

Khara: May I ask if you can access your webpage through this link:

(real name here): no

(real name here): I also can not ftp into

Khara: Do you receive any error messages when you try to access your personal web page?

(real name here): Yes. It tells me my login is incorrect. I've read on the internet the reason is because my personal web page has been disabled. Or not ENABLED when I upgraded my modem. I can log in via a web browser

Khara: Do not worry, we will check on that one.

Khara: Thank you for providing that information.

Khara: Please allow me a minute or two to pull up your account so we can check it. Is that okay with you?

(real name here): yes

Khara: Thank you.

Khara: Thanks for patiently waiting, (real name here).

Khara: To fully understand and to better assist you with your concern, would you mind if I would ask you some questions?

(real name here): No problem

Khara: Thank you.

(real name here): okay

Khara: May I ask what user ID are you using to access your web page?

(real name here): snarkolepsy

Khara: Thank you.

Khara: May I ask if you are able to log in to

(real name here): yes

user (real name here) has left room

Khara: (real name here), I will need to attempt to reset your account password to try and duplicate issue. DO you grant permission to reset password?

(real name here): I'm not sure why you need to reset my passwd to reactivate my personal web page.

Khara: (real name here), I would like to inform you that the ability to activate Personal Web Page has been disabled that is why we need to escalate this one so that the higher fix department can fix the issue good for us.

(real name here): I don't use the web page. I just use FTP for personal image storage. Are you familiar with FTP? File transfer Protocal.

Khara: Yes, (real name here). I understand that. One way of resolving the issue is to reset your password and let you try to log in using the new password.

(real name here): The passwd is NOT the problem! The problem is that when I upgraded my modem the girl didn't activate anything else on my account. Inclusing my phone. I had to call back. I just want you to activate the things I already had on my account.

(real name here): I want you to reactive my personal web page so I can log in via the command prompt using ftp.

Khara: (real name here), everything on your account is in active status.

The analyst has left and your issue has been closed.

Waiting for response from Khara

user (real name here) has left room

Khara: Analyst has closed chat and left the room
I just saw a brand new porche and an SUV race. The SUV won.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dealing with Comcast is worse than getting butt raped by the IRS.

I'd love to tell you why my RSS feed is broken and all the images on my blog are broken. But I can't. I can't upload any images to Comcast through FTP. I can't log in at all. It says my login is incorrect, but if I go to a browser window I can log right in. But that doesn't allow me to upload images.

I've just spent over 2 hours on the phone with Comcast. I've talked to 8 people including a manager. Not one single person at that company has ever heard of the word FTP. NOT ONE. F-t- what? What is it? Since none of them know what this is - I get stuck on hold, only to be hung up on. Even the manager did this! I even managed to get to 2nd level support. You'd think that back line support would be well, smarter. They had never heard of FTP. They had never heard of the concept of uploading images to Comcast. So trying to find out if a server was dead out there was an impossibility. I can't even get my images off so I can tell them to eff off.

It takes 15 minutes to even talk to someone. All the while, the phone system tells me they are experiencing unexpected call volume. Maybe it's because their reps are dumping calls. I've read on another forum that customer service reps get reprimanded for staying on calls to long, and so a lot of them just hang up now to not get into trouble. And I suspect this is what Comcast is doing too.

Dealing with the government is a blessing over dealing with this company. I hope some trader comes in and shorts the hell out of this company.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Here is a car you've probably never seen before.

Every once in a while Club Auto Sport has a gathering. This is where I saw this car. It's called an Anteros. It's built on a Corvette body. Hey! This is how Corvettes get on the blog. By not looking that much like a Corvette. Here are other pictures of different styles.

Elon Musk re-invents the pneumatic tube. Everyone marvels.

Last night Mr S. and I were talking about the Hyperloop. When it dawned on me that all this creation was is a giant pneumatic tube. And who doesn't love that? Still, I went on to crap all over this idea. Mr S. - this has got to be one of the most expensive ways to move people, right? When I was growing up these were everywhere. Now you almost never see them.

Well, interoffice phones and email killed them off he replied. But, it also has to be really expensive, right - I continued. My mom worked in the basement of a hospital once, and the roof looked like a circuit board. It ceiling was nothing but tubes. That has got to be expensive. Mr S. didn't think they were. But we had debate about it for about a half an hour or so.

While we were hanging out in bed Mr S. did a google search on pneumatic tubes. Probably due to my incessant questioning of their expense.

He got to this paragraph on wikipedia when I said - Oh no Mr S., maybe I am wrong about pneumatic tubes.

"Denver International Airport is noteworthy for the large number of pneumatic tube systems, including a 25 cm diameter system for moving aircraft parts to remote concourses,"

I'd never seen them move anything more than paper. But a 25 inch tube can almost fit a human and aircraft parts have to be heavy. There is someone out there that knows how much weight a pneumatic tube can move, and I bet that person is Elon Musk.

The other interesting wiki entry was this:

"Until it closed in early 2011, a McDonald's in Edina, Minnesota claimed on its receipts to be the "World's Only Pneumatic Air Drive-Thru," sending food from their strip-mall location to a drive-through in the middle of a parking lot. "

Monday, August 12, 2013


There is something about Berkeley now that makes me all sharp around the edges. I used to be able to go up there and be fairly entertained. I mean, taking pictures of Che was kinda fun before because they weren't affecting me. Still, they claimed they were going to have a pre-burning man "thing" - so up to Berkeley we went. Gritting my teeth the whole way. Going up there is something that no DIY car with smile painted on it and penis's can make you feel better about.

Maybe it's because they think art comes from the Blair Witch project.

Or every art installation has to tell me the icecaps are melting.

Still there was a fair amount of fun cats to watch.

Dudes dressed in camo acting like a dog.

I'm convinced this hotel put this peace sign in their tile entry so the bums would be merciful on their bathrooms.

Is that a thing?

Here, I'll give you another try.

It's sort of a kitchy design. I'm not sure I'm cool with the two different sizes, but if you went in and bought the same boot in a different color - that could be a trend I guess. Then you'd have a backup pair when that one wore out.