Tuesday, November 18, 2014

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming.

In the news today:

https://www.yahoo.com/health/potential-super-antioxidant-in-coffee-may-protect-102882566142.html

Add obesity to cardiovascular disease,  Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Time for another cup, methinks....


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Who knew? Musings from the dial-up ghetto

Or, trying to upgrade internet in the 21st century.

I will name some names in this post only because the last time I blogged about a banjaxed product, someone from that company actually saw my post and sent me a free widget. So, with that in mind… AT&T, listen up and pay attention!

I sent the following letter this morning to Randall L. Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T:

Dear Sir:

I am writing to draw your attention to a serious deficiency in your system.

Let me state at the outset that your sales representative named T*** in New Mexico is a credit to your company. He has worked very hard on my behalf, but all of his best efforts (and those of his supervisor) were not enough to overcome the flaw in the ordering system.

I have had DSL internet for many years through R*******, a local provider. While they are a very good company and I do prefer to use local businesses as much as I can, their DSL is just too slow for today's needs, so I made the decision to upgrade to Uverse internet plus voice. I placed an order online on Friday, September 19, 2014.

On Saturday, September 20, 2014, I received an email informing me that due to existing service at my address, the order could not be completed, and that I needed to have the existing service disconnected.

I used the online chat feature of the website to converse with someone in tech support, who suggested I call the sales department. I did so, and was connected to T*** in New Mexico. By the end of our conversation, we had concluded that I was essentially stuck in an endless loop; the ordering system at your end would not allow scheduling of installation until the existing service was confirmed to be disconnected; but needless to say, because I work online from home and I take online classes as well, I could not schedule disconnection of the DSL until I knew when the Uverse installers were coming. But the installers could not be scheduled until the sales and ordering system was satisfied, by its own internal criteria, with no overrides able to be done, that the existing service was gone.

Do you see the problem here?

T*** called me back yesterday (Monday, September 22) after speaking to his supervisor. He brought in a support technician named E* from R*******via conference calling and explained the problem. E* said that in his experience, all the Uverse installers needed to do was hot-swap the wires when they got here, and that would turn off the DSL and turn on the Uverse. However, despite every trick that T*** tried to get through the system at his end, he was not able to move the process forward to the point of scheduling installation, and no one in his vicinity had the ability to override.

Thus, while we waited, E* put us on hold and disconnected the DSL at his end, gave T*** a cancellation number, and set me up for a temporary dial-up account. (T*** was horrified at the very thought, as he should be.)

I had to go to B*** B** to purchase a modem because nowadays, laptop computers do not come so equipped.

When I got home from that excursion, I found a message from T*** indicating that the DSL cancellation had not yet filtered through the system, he was still unable to complete my order and schedule Uverse installation, and he would check on it as soon as he got in on Tuesday (today), and call me.

Meanwhile, I sit here in the dial-up ghetto, unable to get any significant work done. The public library does not open until noon; but even so, any public wi-fi is going to be a problem because the nature of my work involves transmitting HIPAA-protected medical information.

In summary, from a technical standpoint, my internet service should have been able to be switched in a manner that would minimize my downtime. This can be easily accomplished by the Uverse installation technicians, and apparently this was how it was done in the past.

However, due to a serious design flaw in the sales and ordering system, I am stuck with dial-up internet for at least the next week. In this day and age, that is unacceptable.

At this moment, when I attempt to check my order status online (at the glacially-slow dial-up speed) I find that the order was last updated 3 days ago.

Again I would like to emphasize that T*** is a credit to your company, and has gone above and beyond in his efforts to resolve my dilemma. However, his hands are tied by the system.

If I didn't hate C****** already for reasons I won't go into here, by this point I would have told AT&T goodbye and gone with another internet provider.

I would urge you to investigate this flaw in your system and take steps to ensure that future customers do not wind up in the same boat as me. I would also boldly request that since I initially placed the order last Saturday, I should be bumped to a position in the installation queue commensurate with that date.

Sincerely,

Update from later in the day:  When I got back from my afternoon coffee shop sojourn, I found a message from T*** on my answering machine. He said that the DSL disconnection STILL has not made its way through the system, and therefore he still cannot schedule me for installation, but he will follow up again tomorrow and keep me informed.

Incidentally, I had to e-mail the above letter to the CEO because his fax machine just rang and rang and rang. Nice.  /sarcasm

Goodbye for now from dial-up purgatory. How did we EVER function in this environment?? (I should have timed how long it took for Blogger to simply load the page for me to paste in—after writing it offline--and post this entry. My best guesstimate is about 10 minutes, including all the times I had to refresh the timed-out page. Ouch.)


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Probably shouldn't have done that...

... because I'm very stiff and sore, and it feels like I have a slight case of whiplash.

What did I do to cause this? Why, I double-dog-dared myself to ride the Tanzanian Twister water slide at Kalahari, Wisconsin Dells. Better known as "the toilet."

 

First, you shoot feet-first down a very dark tube; then you whirl a couple of times around this gigantic bowl, then you get free-fall dumped into a pool that's over 9 feet deep. And as soon as you come up for air, you have to swim hard for the side while being pummeled by the continuous water flow from above.

I whanged my head pretty good when I got dumped into the bowl, but had enough brain cells still firing that I was able to take a deep breath and hold my nose before I went down the hole.

This ride should come with a free lifetime pass to your chiropractor of choice.  I can safely say I will never do it again.

But, given the opportunity, I will do the milder outdoor version, the Swahili Swirl, the one where you ride a tube/raft, and the final drop is down another chute into a shallow pool where you can exit your raft at some leisure. Best of all:  No whiplash!



What I want to know is, how did this person manage to come down the final chute facing front?  I went in backwards both times. Go figure.

Now I can cross "water park" off my bucket list.

And for all your lurkers, I'm back home now, so don't think you can rob my house while I'm out of state!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

See? I Wasn't Lying.

This truck came to address the septic tank issues at the late parental residence, and naturally I took the opportunity to take a picture.



Speaking of the late parental residence, we closed yesterday, the new owners have the keys, and y'all missed out on the perfect opportunity to own a chunk of real estate in beautiful Carmel Valley.

And I do believe I'm going to sleep for about a week now.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

This Is Why There's Algebra.

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. Just been really, really busy. Being the executor/trustee of your parents' estate can do that to a person. (Mother just faded away at age 91 back in December.)

Which reminds me. I don't care how old (or young) you are. Do your heirs a favor, and thin out your stuff NOW. If you can't figure out why that's a good thing, ask me about filling the biggest dumpster Waste Management will deliver, and still having trash left over. Not to mention so many trips to Goodwill, the guy at the donation station knows us by name.

Oh, and does anybody want to buy a 2000+ square foot house on an acre in Carmel Valley? A million in cash and it's yours.

None of which explains the algebra.

For reasons I'm too tired to explain right now, amongst my various other endeavors I am experimenting with creating handmade flutes. And before I (pun warning!) branch out into wood, bamboo and other such materials, PVC pipe is a good place to start.

Yep. Good ol' PVC pipe from Home Depot, at less than 2 bucks for 10 feet of the stuff.

Anybody can just start drilling holes in a tube, but if you want the thing to play in something resembling "tune" (what is this "tune" thing I speak of?) you have to do some math.

Well. Anybody who has known me for any length of time knows that Algebra 2 was one of the worst experiences of my life, and I quickly and purposely forgot it all once I had passed the class and moved on with my education. Where and when, I often asked, was I ever going to use this knowledge again?

Fast forward to yesterday, and a few useful websites. One of those sites offers the following text:

If I want a pipe that plays an A-440 (that is, the note at 440 Hz, which happens to be an A), sound waves have to go around it once in 1/440 second. So, (2 x (length of pipe in m)) / (345 m / s) = (1 / 440) s. We can solve this equation algebraically to find that the length of pipe must be .392 m (39.2 cm).

Algebra? Heaven help me.

Heaven came in the form of yet another nifty website. (They've got practically everything on the net these days, don't they.) Somehow I managed to actually use those instructions to draft my own equation and plug it in, once I had figured out the part about sound waves traveling at 345 meters per second. And I found that for a pipe to play a D at 293.66 Hz, it needed to be 0.58741402 meters long, or about 23 1/8 inches for us English speakers. And lo and behold, when I cut the PVC pipe to that length and blew into it, aiming at a nifty tuner app, I got a D.

I then used the Flutomat to calculate the distances and hole sizes for a D-minor scale, drilled out the holes, and now I've got my first homemade flute.

Fine-grit sandpaper takes off the black printing as well as the shiny surface, so it looks just a little less like PVC at a distance, although the cap at the end kind of gives it away....

Silly me, I should have offset the G hole a bit. Yes, it is rather awkward to play. But it has an interesting sound.

Bonus feature. If you drop it on the floor, or even step on it, it won't break!



Want to hear what it sounds like?


Friday, October 5, 2012

I Was Driving, No Camera Handy.

So I couldn't take a picture, and you'll just have to take my word for it. For a couple of miles on the freeway, I followed a septic tank service truck. You know, the truck with the big tank on the back and the great big ol' hose. On the back of the tank, right under the name and phone number of the company, it said "Warning! This tank may contain political promises!" Honest. Really.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Little Tank

That is how one of the San Diego Zoo bloggers referred to this baby bear, in the context of last week's veterinary examination.

The little tank is going to be a very big tank before we know it.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Why Not?

After all, they found Richard III under a parking lot. (Maybe.)

Michigan police skeptical they will find Hoffa's body under driveway


Saturday, August 25, 2012

All Together Now, One, Two, Three....

Awwwwwww!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Twenty Days Old, 60 Seconds Of Unbearable Cuteness

The new baby in San Diego is already recognizable as a panda, and s/he is trying very, very hard to mobilize!



No, I don't know what that yellow stain in the corner is, since this camera does not broadcast in color.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

11 Days Old Already

Might as well get used to it... this blog is likely to be wall-to-wall bears for a while.


Monday, July 30, 2012

YEP! SHE'S A MAMA AGAIN!

Bai Yun gave birth to her 6th cub Sunday afternoon. She is one of the oldest panda mothers ever at age nearly-21, and is now the most prolific panda mother in any breeding program outside of China. Congratulations to mama and papa, and cheers to the panda staff at the San Diego Zoo! (Photo credit: The LA Times, via San Diego Zoo.)


Saturday, July 28, 2012

YEP! SHE'S PREGGERS!



Expecting the pitty-pat of widdle cubby feetsies at any moment. Yay!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

How Annoying.

Someone presumes to correct my grammar--and they're wrong! Case in point; the exceptions to the comma-between-doubled-word rule being "had had" and "that that." Changing "had had" to "had" or "has had" changes the meaning. Worse yet, "had, had" is COMPLETELY wrong. Wrongety-wrong-wrong-wrong. Look it up. I had to, so you can too.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Surely This Is In The Constitution.

As one of the mandated duties of the federal government. Right next to that wall of separation between church and state.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Live From San Diego



Mama bear Bai Yun from yesterday, having herself a snooze. She is on hopeful pregnancy watch, so cross all your fingers and toes for a new cubbie to be born later this year!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

In The News Today

From today's Yahoo headlines:



You've got to be kidding me. Are there really people walking around loose that are this dumb? Wait... don't answer that.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Fun Never Stops.

Anybody read in the financial news today about that big ol' merger that was announced in the medical transcription industry?

Yes, I will be involved in that. Thank you for asking.

Last time I went through a merger, I was part of the smaller company that got gobbled up by the big fish.

This time, it's the other way around. Last time's gobbler (for which I still work) will become the gobble-ee.

And even though the sale was announced today, it will not be final for 6 to 9 months, they told us, so nothing is supposed to change for at least 6 months. After that? All bets are off.

Oh, and the most fun? The announcement conference call was set for 9 a.m. . . . eastern time. Lovely consideration for the employees in other time zones (not). And they still didn't beat the press release. Facebook was hopping well before the conference began.

Yep. The fun never stops.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Way To Go, Yahoo News.

Nothing quite like telling the terrorists the best places for them to target. Uh huh.


No, I am not linking the news story, just in case there's a terrorist watching this space.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One Silly Bear

Captured live on the Pandacam just now... not-so-little-anymore Yun Zi at San Diego, taking a nap in a rather extraordinary position....


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Neighbors.

Show an appalling lack of consideration, thumping around in the bedroom closet at 11:30 in the morning. Makes it hard for a girl to sleep on the job.

I'm just saying.


Monday, September 12, 2011

And The Highlight Was...

... borrowing a flute off a street musician and playing "God Bless America" at Ground Zero.


(In case you haven't read the post immediately below this one, this picture was taken in July of 2003.)


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later

Today seems like an appropriate day to review my two visits to New York, and compare and contrast.

Interestingly, both visits were made in the company of my best friend, sometimes known as Muppy.

The two visits, 14 years apart, had in common a ride on the carousel in Central Park, and a visit to Tavern on the Green, although on the first trip, we only had coffee, because we were very, very poor, and on the second visit, we splurged and had lunch.

On the first visit, in 1989, the city seemed proud of being designated the attitude capital of the world. The hotel desk clerks, taxi drivers and airline agents seemed to be the only exceptions, and I expect their job descriptions included not getting snarky with the customers. I have a vague memory of a public relations campaign going on with the taxi drivers, in which the phrase "May I help you?" figured prominently.  But other than that, people were generally rude and mouthy, and unrepentant.

And on the ride into the city from the Newark airport, the twin towers dominated the skyline.

Fast forward to 2003, and a similar ride from the same airport. On that July day, 9/11 became fully real to me when I saw with my own eyes the gap in the skyline.

We made an early start the next morning, and the first thing on our agenda was, of course, the pilgrimage down to Ground Zero. I think we had a printed Google map and not much else. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but we wound up going into a hotel, not our own, via the rear entrance, and we must have looked mystified, because the nice uniformed man at the podium (bellman? concierge?) immediately took us in hand, although we had not gotten to the point of asking for help. He gave us a map, pointed out the location of the nearest subway station, told us what stop to get off at, and then gave us his card, saying, "If you get lost, call me."

And we weren't even guests at his hotel; we came in off the street, and he saw us come in off the street.

After that, I can't even tell you how many times we had only to pop out of a subway station and look around, trying to get our bearings, before someone would approach us, within seconds, and ask if we needed help finding our way.

Even the street vendors accosting the tourists and hawking their swag in the blocks surrounding the big hole in the ground, although they were just as aggressive, somehow were much nicer about taking "no" for an answer.

What a difference 14 years makes.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

How Quickly We Forget.

And how quickly we remember, when prompted....

I usually operate with the home phone ringer turned off, mostly because I am not fond of interruptions.

Today, I am expecting a call from a co-worker, so I turned the ringer on.

So far, it's been the breast cancer donation people, and the recorded message from "card services" to alert me that I could get a lower interest rate.

And as soon as that co-worker calls, the ringer is once again going to be turned OFF.

Everyone that knows me knows to either e-mail me, or start yelling when they get the answering machine. If I'm here and I feel like talking to you, I will pick up. Otherwise... use the answering machine for its intended purpose and leave a message.

Hey, I'm paying for this phone, I'll decide when and how I want to use it. I will. Not the breast cancer donation people, no matter how worthy their cause, nor "card services," nor any of the other myriad of callers who (thank heaven) mostly do not leave messages if they reach voicemail. 

Yes, I am feeling especially curmudgeonly today.  Thank you for asking.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bears and Boxes

Just got back from this year's Black and White Overnight at the San Diego Zoo. One of our activities was creating treat boxes for the bears. We actually missed seeing this ourselves, but one of the narrators got the shot of nearly-2-year-old Yun Zi beheading the box we made.



And here is the pandacam shot of the overnighters. We are the ones with the panda ears and blue shirts.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What Are The Odds?

That I would run into both ex-pregnant women on the same day? Especially considering it's been a very long time since we all worked together?

I ran into Dr. Nancy in Whole Foods at around noon on Sunday. She gave birth to Zack back in August of 2006, and he's going to start school this fall. She assures me that my old boss, her dad, is doing just fine, and they're treating her well over at the new office, which isn't so new anymore.

And then I ran into Stacy, who gave birth to her twins in December of 2006, at the Mercy Me concert at my church Sunday night. I was taking tickets at the door, and found myself face to face with her and hubby Nick. I did see Stacy not all that long ago; she was in the area, and we met up for lunch.

But to run into both Nancy and Stacy on the same day? Who'd have thought?


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Add Another To The List

Of things I can't run at the same time without blowing the breaker, that is.

Until now, the only one on the list was the microwave and toaster oven.

Now, it's the microwave and the hair dryer set on "high."

Ahh, life in the modern age.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Yeah, Still Alive (More Or Less)

Went off on a mini-tour, seeing the Moody Blues in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. Went with good friend Pam, who won the VIP upgrade for SB, and thus we got a special tour of the stage, and had our pictures taken onstage. Minus the band, alas, but that's as close as us fans actually can get, so we were pretty happy. Also saw some old friends, and met a few new ones.

But, despite actually getting to bed at a decent hour, neither one of us really slept, so we were pretty draggy the next day. The adrenalin rush came back in full force by concert time, and we had a blast. We did get some sleep that night, and headed home the next day.

Now I'm back at work, and I really, really need a nap... but, miles to go before I sleep, alas.

Pictures later, if you're lucky, but don't hold your breath.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dead Skunk In The Middle Of The Road

That was my first thought, until I realized it was a grave insult to all honest black-and-white stinky fuzzballs out there.

To paraphrase my good friend Denise AKA Butterflysneeze...

Hey, Pakistan! You got some 'splainin' to do!


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Bamboo Boogaloo

Gao Gao spent a LOT of time this morning scent-marking all over the enclosure, not just on or near the gate.



Bai Yun came over a few times and sneered at him, then flipped her tail and walked away again. Talk about playing hard-to-get....



And then... SHE came to the gate looking for HIM, and he wasn't there!



Right about then, they switched the live cam over to Yun Zi's enclosure.......

Later, a new zoo blog entry was posted with the happy news that the happy couple finally had a successful rendezvous.

Which means we might, just might, hear the pitter-patter of new fuzzy feet this fall. ::fingers crossed::


 
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