grrgoyl: (Bad Jesus!  Very Bad!)
I just wanted to pay for my groceries.

I was in line behind a woman with a hand-carry basket.  We were both behind a family that looked vaguely Iranian?  Iraqi?  Middle Eastern.  Their groceries were all bagged in the cart ready to go, when someone noticed a mistake on the receipt.  The cashier took it back, examined it.  Stared at it for a full five minutes with intense concentration, like she was reading a Twilight novel.  She was young, blond, a bit paunchy.  Had the exact facial bone structure of a pug dog. 

Then I got to see the item in question.  A fruit roll-up.  I wish I were kidding.  A fucking FRUIT ROLL-UP.  Unless it rang up for $50 or something, there's just no reason for this.  I think they actually bought five of them (because what kind of Commies buy just one fruit roll-up?), but still.  The savings that they were pushing for couldn't have been that great.

Then someone had to be sent off to the aisle to find the correct price.  Then the transaction had to be rectified.  Blondie started fumbling with keys, scanning the candy.  Scanned it again.  Studied the register screen intensely.  Scanned it again.  I glared at her (and the family) with the hate of a million red hot supernovas, which probably didn't help anyone but it beat the hell out of doing NOTHING.

Meanwhile the man behind me had moved to the next line over.  Someone with less patience than me?  I should have proposed.  However, the cashier there tried to pick up one of those gallon jugs of the unnatural lime-green juice drink; it slipped out of his hands and exploded all over the floor, creating a small unnaturally lime-green lake.  "Boy, there's just no right answer here, is there?" the line jumper said to me.  "Nope, we can't win," I agreed. 

I gave Blondie another five minutes of apparently fruitless (pun sort of intended) scanning and keying before fleeing to another lane.  Got everything rung up and passed her again on my way out, where the family was still standing and I heard Blondie say, "Okay.  I'm just going to start all over again."

I just wanted to pay for my groceries.

~*~

Tery is hell-bent on seeing as many likely Oscar nominees as possible before the big event (she is every year, however, this year has an extra sense of urgency since she decided to throw a party and hold a contest to vote for the winners).  As for me, I can't stand watching awards shows, and in fact vowed never to again after the last one took about six hours with all the commercials and crap.

So, without further ado, I give you first ::Gran Torino, with plenty o'spoilers, cuz I can:: )

I suppose Clint wasn't too bad.  It's the same role he's played for most of his career, after all.  But all the actors around him were bad.  Really, really awfully awful.  Embarrassingly awful.  Tery and I couldn't believe this was nominated for a Golden Globe.  And as of this morning, it wasn't even nominated for an Oscar, which means we essentially watched it for nothing.

Second was ::Revolutionary Road, perhaps not as spoilery:: )

Also as of this morning, this is another one that Oscar snubbed.  Although Michael Shannon fully deserves best supporting, unfortunately he's up against Heath Ledger, so chances are probably slim. 

All I'm saying is two movies on a Sunday, my weepiest day, and dry as a bone.  If teardrops were Academy votes, it's pretty clear why these weren't nominated.
grrgoyl: (Buffy Giles headache)
Last night I ran out to Lowe's to find some better options for my indoor skating rink idea (I've been using a thin piece of wood, which works fine except for occasionally making very loud, alarming cracking noises, and being too wide to fit in the hallway).

I found two perfect pieces of particle board, 5/8" thick, only 4 feet long so I could fit them in my car, and cheap. I went to check out but there was a problem. My debit card kept getting declined, despite having almost $1000 in there.

The girl was apologetic and blamed USAA (our mutual bank), said they were having technical issues earlier in the day. I went to my car to give them a call.

The conversation started as usual, the customer representative trying to determine I really am Elaine Adamcewicz before discussing my account information. All for the good, but then it suddenly took a turn into Bizarro World.

Rep: Okay, Miss Adamcewicz, can I have your phone code please?
Me: My...what? My phone code?
Rep: Yes please.
Me: You mean my PIN number?
Rep: No, your phone code.
Me: I have no idea what that is.
Rep: Your hint is "mother's maiden name is Smith" (note: It isn't. I changed it here because I don't need you people knowing my answer to the most popular security question ever)
Me: (flummoxed) Right, it's Smith.
Rep: So I need your phone code, please.
Me: I'm sorry, I really don't understand what you're asking for.
Rep: Your hint is "mother's maiden name is Smith."
Me: Right. But shouldn't you ask me what her maiden name is and I would answer "Smith"?
Rep: It just says your hint is (yadda yadda yadda, you get the idea).
Me: Is there anything else you can ask me??
Rep: Sure. Do you have the card in front of you?
Me: Yep, right here.
Rep: Okay, read me the last eight digits on the card. (I did) Okay, now tell me a charge that's cleared in the last 24 hours.
Me: (drawing a blank because this is just so ridiculous) Ummm, I bought something at Sports Authority this morning for $32 something.
Rep: Very good, Miss Adamcewicz, how can I help you?

And I was in! I still don't know what the problem was. She insisted it was Lowe's system, but I tried getting cash out of an ATM shortly after this call with similar unsuccess. But my point is, if someone had physically stolen my card and shopped at Sports Authority, wouldn't they have the answers to those last two questions? How do they do anything to prove my identity?

I'm sending a letter to USAA right now about this issue, because I find it pretty disturbing. Have you ever seen the movie Idiocracy? It gets scarier and scarier every time I see evidence of us moving closer to such a world.
grrgoyl: (Office Poop)
ADDENDUM: To my once weekly update.

In the category of poor customer service, first I shot off this to DDD of the drag-yer-ass shipping:

Reason for Return: I received this order yesterday. I shipped it back to you this morning because I got tired of waiting and found it at Target for a dollar less. 2 weeks to ship from 3 states over is completely unacceptable. I received a DVD from Spain in only 5 days. Free shipping, true, but 2 weeks??? It would have been faster for me to drive there and pick it up myself. I'm extremely unhappy with this transaction, so have it back. Plus now I'm out $1.85 to ship it back to you. Bad form, Amazon.com pays for return shipping themselves.


While I was at it, I also sent another letter to "Entertainment Weekly" expressing my displeasure at finding an issue with literally half its pages devoted to Sex and the City, the series and the upcoming movie. It says right on the cover, as if it's something to be proud of, 63 pages of 'Sex'!. I couldn't care less about Sex and the City, have in fact only seen one episode (because it had Alan Cumming) and I thought this was a pretty bold assumption on their part that the series inspired such mass appeal to merit half a freakin' issue. I wanted my subscription prorated for the cost of the issue (joking), and a promise that they'd give at least as much fanfare to Harry Potter once the final movie has been released. I think 7 books, 8 movies, oodles of marketing tie-ins, not to mention making Daniel Radcliffe and JK Rowling the richest people in England in their respective fields AND getting children excited about books again deserves a damn sight more coverage than they have received so far. Certainly more than stupid Sex and the City.

But this is the real thing I forgot to add to my last post. Thursday I went to Walmart, a place I normally try to avoid, but they had certain organizational accoutrements much cheaper than anywhere else online. As usual, a quick stop for one item turned into a mini-spree when I realized they had those energy-efficient lightbulbs, Pillsbury apple turnovers that you can't get anywhere else in Denver (everyone else only has cherry, bleah), propane tanks and milk.

It was pretty busy for a Thursday afternoon (I'm kidding. I have no idea what it looks like on a Thursday afternoon) but I got in the Express Lane with my meager selection. Whether the girl in front of me was within the 20-item limit was debatable, but whatever. I was mellow and forgiving, mostly because my sister called at that moment and distracted me.

Then we hung up and I realized I hadn't moved an inch since entering the line 10 minutes ago. Express Lane, whut? I watched with silent frustration as the second Express Lane moved steadily and smoothly, as an Express Lane should, while our cashier seemed to summon a supervisor for every single transaction. But I just KNEW the minute I changed lanes it would suddenly reverse and I'd regret my decision AND look like an asshole.

FINALLY it was the girl's turn in front of me. As she started putting her items up, her friend that had been popping in and out disappeared again. Halfway through the transaction, she mentioned something to the cashier about not having received her discount card in the mail yet (?), which necessitated a supervisor to be called immediately, naturally. 5 minutes later the supervisor finished inputting a code so complex I swear she might have been booking plane tickets. I stood in stony silence.

Then when everything was finally rung up, suddenly the friend reappeared and I guess had her discount card, which meant the supervisor had to be called AGAIN to override the previous card (or something). Of course now things were really hopping and the supervisor couldn't get over right away. I glared a stabbity hot look of death at the girl, who noticed and looked as though she was going to start something, but at that moment I turned it instead onto the cashier, who gave me a helpless shrug.

At last it was my turn, 20 minutes after getting in line. The cashier said in a carefree sort of way, "Sorry about the wait!"

I couldn't resist responding, my voice dripping with sarcasm (which is mostly wasted on people in this state), "Yeah, not much of an Express Lane, is it?"

"Yeah, haha," she answered nervously.

She started bagging the propane tanks, worrying aloud that they were going to blow up. "They won't blow up," I assured her. She explained that they actually had a Pillsbury roll container explode at the check-out after becoming too warm. I said it was hardly surprising, if today were any indication. My stuff was rung up, bagged and paid for in under 3 minutes, as it should be in an Express Lane.

Not that I blame the poor cashier. The Express Lane rule should, I believe, exclude anyone with complicating issues or extenuating circumstances that would delay their transaction, like wanting to buy cigarettes that are locked up a half a mile away. But hell, it's enough of a battle getting people to stay under the item limit.
grrgoyl: (shrek)
I often stop into Subway for dinner on my way into work. I stride in purposefully, wearing my uniform, which I would hope indicates that I'm heading to work and therefore would appreciate speedy, efficient service. Most of the time my hair is also wet, and again you don't have to be Monk to deduce that means I'm freshly showered and therefore going to work, not home.

I went in this weekend and my hopes were dashed almost immediately when the solitary clerk asked me to wait while he finished counting his drawer. No problem, I agreed initially, then stood there for 10 minutes while he loudly counted dimes, nickels, pennies. At last he was ready to wait on me.

He took note of my attire and asked where I was headed. I briefly summarized my job description, we joked about me being a skeleton crew of one, it was all good. But between the drawer counting and all the small talk, 5 more customers had appeared in line behind me. Still all was good until he added my meat and cheese, and then suddenly abandoned my sandwich to help the guy behind me.

"What can I get you, sir?" he asked.

Once I picked my jaw up off the floor, I interrupted. "Ummm, I hate to be rude, but I really need to get going here." I hate to be rude, but I hate people pushing my already limited patience even more. I mean, come on. I'd already waited for him to count his drawer. I'd made it clear I was going to work. I willingly engaged in idle chatter not realizing it would create the impression I wanted to hang out all night. He was all business after that, no more easy cameraderie. I'll try not to cry myself to sleep.

~*~

Chris and Liana had a little something this weekend. Chris was already 2-1/2 sheets to the wind by the time we arrived. We played a board game, the details of which are unimportant, except one of the questions had us guessing which movie most defined Chris' character. This led to Chris' taste in movies, which led to reminding Chris about our abortive attempt at a movie exchange program (remember my contributions: Donnie Darko and A Life Less Ordinary, both of which he said he liked. His offerings: Hidalgo and Reign of Fire, one of which I fell asleep during and the other I wrote exactly what I thought about here).

Chris took great exception to my dislike of Reign of Fire, acting hurt and betrayed. It's not my fault Chris has bad taste in movies. It really puts me between a rock and a hard place: Tell the truth and hurt his feelings, or lie and have him foist more of the same on me? He was also offended by my belief that all his movies featured horses. He drunkenly pulled me into the living room and selected what he claims to be his three favorite movies: My Dog Skip, which granted probably doesn't have many equines, ditto Men of Honor (though I have a powerful suspicion I've seen this already, though can't remember it at all so that doesn't speak very well for how much I enjoyed it), and All the Pretty Horses which is where his whole "I don't have a thing for movies with horses" argument falls apart.

When I returned to the kitchen, everyone wanted to see what Chris had given me. Peg, his best friend from vet school days, warned me with a horrified expression that I didn't want to see All the Pretty Horses. Chris just grimaced but said nothing. Peg said it was a terrible movie, but Chris ignored her. Chris slurred at me, "You may not like these movies, but you'll respect these movies." What's THAT supposed to mean? I'd like to be drunk just once so I, too, can spout utter bullshit with profound gravitas.

UPDATE: Watched Horses last night. Evidently Peg's horrified warnings were because the movie is horrifyingly boring and pointless, not, as I had feared, because there was some disturbing violence that would scar my psyche. Apart from being scarred by boredom and pointlessness. I'd go so far as to say Quigley Down Under was a masterpiece in comparison.

~*~

Speaking of movies I didn't like, I also saw Shrek the Third.....ooh, did I tip my hand too soon?

::The whole terrible truth:: )

The laughs die out too soon, which makes for the longest 92 minutes I've sat through in awhile. I'm glad I saw it, but the odds are good I won't feel the need to buy it on DVD. Disappointing. 3 out of 5

But as we left the theater I asked Ryan if he found himself in the same quandary as with Heroes: knowing Prince Charming is the villain, but also thinking he's so damn hot (Ryan had a brief thing for Sylar). To my surprise, he said he thought Prince Charming looked a lot like me. Wow. I don't see it personally, but flattering, certainly.

~*~

Lastly, looks like the boys are finally warming up to each other:

Itty Bitty and Duncan Munchkin
grrgoyl: (Good grief Charlie Brown)
This morning dawned crisp and bright with the promise of new DVDs. I love waking up on Tuesdays (new release days). I headed out to Walmart with two goals in mind: V for Vendetta and Arrested Development, Season 3.

Just my luck, I got to Electronics and saw two employees (a middle-aged woman and an old, old man) in the process of re-zoning the entire New Releases section. Even though they're open 24 hours (and even if they weren't, night stockers anyone??) they wait until 8 am on new release day to re-do all the shelves. Bollocks. Trying to save time I asked the woman about V for Vendetta, since I could see the "W" and "U" titles were up already.

"V for Vendetta, V for Vendetta...." she mumbled to herself as she searched shelf tags. No luck. The old man had to put his two cents in, "That's been out for awhile, it's not a new release."

"Well, it's been out for less than a month," I corrected him. "I don't know how new is considered 'new' but..."

The woman went to the next aisle to search for it among the regular titles. Still no luck. She turned to me and said, "I don't see a slot for it. We must not sell it anymore."

Really. Well Jesus, I would have moved a lot quicker if I realized my window of opportunity was so small. She left me standing there without so much as an offer to look in the computer for backstock or anything. Thanks for the outstanding customer service, lady.

Left to my own devices, I began looking for Arrested Development with similar results, though this wasn't as surprising. Still, time was a-wasting and so was my patience. I came around the corner again.

"Oh," the woman looked up. "Here's the slot for V for Vendetta on the top shelf, so we'll probably get more soon."

"Great. I'm also looking for Arrested Development. Just came out today, so I KNOW that's a new release."

"Arrested what?" she asked me. I repeated myself, gritting my teeth.

The old man again chimed in. "Haven't seen any Arrested Development. We've got Desperate Housewives though."

Hmmmmm. Not exactly the same thing, but I guess it'll have to do. Is that what he was expecting? Go to bed, old man!!!!!!

It turned out they might have had some in the back, but the asking price was higher than I've seen it for online, so I took my leave. Walmart. Bunch of goddamn Philistines there. I ran to Target and both were way more expensive than they are online.

I walked through the front door empty-handed and fuming. Tery wisely ducked out of the way. I ordered them both online, in addition to this, because really, how could I be expected to resist it? (though not from Amazon, good god. DeepDiscountDVD.com has it for only $139.) Tery felt I fully deserved it for the frustrating morning I had, and that's why I love her so.

But I've lost so much respect for the Lord of the Rings franchise. Someone came up for air out of the vast mountain of money at New Line and realized that people weren't buying LOTR DVDs anymore, and they simply can't have that. So they've released ANOTHER FUCKING EDITION of the movies, if you can believe it. Enough, LOTR. Let. It. Go.
grrgoyl: (sissy)
I called Tery on Friday afternoon and idly asked her what kind of weekend I had ahead of me in Kennel Land. She said, "I'm not sure you want to know." I temporarily forgot to breathe. "What?" I demanded. "Honus is coming in later this afternoon," she blurted out, barely suppressing an evil chuckle. "You are fucking kidding me" was my response. I was far, far from amused. I had promised Tery I would quit if I had to spend every weekend with that goddamn dog, but I had no idea how much of a possibility it was. I should have been clued in by the frequent boarder discount card (get the 7th visit free) in the chart. What the fuck was up with this dog's owners? Could they not bear to spend a single weekend with their own beloved pet?

I'm afraid I had quite the childish tantrum over the phone, perhaps stepping out of line for working there less than a month, but there had to be some perks for being married to the boss. I demanded she require the owners leave a bark collar, or at the very least some powerful sedatives. I ranted at great length about stupid, lazy people who can't be bothered to train their dog and then leave him to become someone else's problem two days out of the week. I tried to make it a less selfish request by pointing out how much he disturbs the other dogs in the kennel, how I'm sure no one sleeps a wink all night long, and how unfair that is to her other clients. Tery bore my tirade patiently as she does all my tirades, and promised to do what she could.

She called back a short time later with good news. He was only staying Friday night, and was having warts removed from his paws so would probably be knocked out on painkillers. I felt these terms were acceptable. To torment me, she sent me this on my phone:

Honus: Asshole Beagle Extraordinaire

"Awwww," you may be thinking. "The poor thing. He doesn't look so bad. How can you be so heartless?" I didn't think it was possible either, but there we are. I simply loathe this dog. And I guarantee you would too after a few short hours of listening to his ceaseless and increasingly desperate barking.

It turned out the surgery had humbled him somewhat, although he was no longer unconscious by the time I arrived. Instead of barking he was letting out a persistent, high-pitched whine with every breath. Don't get me wrong, this was far better than the barking, but at the end of 8 hours felt exactly like having an ice pick driven millimeter by millimeter through my skull. He was in Recovery where I do all my paperwork, and I had hoped that having me in sight would alleviate what I assumed was separation anxiety, but no. Perhaps his anxiety wasn't helped by being with someone with almost visible waves of animosity radiating off of them, but I couldn't help that. I would hiss sharply, "Honus!!" and he would stop for a breath or two, and then immediately start again. Stupid, stupid, asshole dog.

But the night wasn't a complete loss. This picture was taken primarily for [livejournal.com profile] citizenjess. I give you.....wiener puppies!:

Cute Overload
Tootsie (4 months) and Schotzy (4 years)

I wish I could have gotten a pic of them sleeping curled up together, but opening the kennel door was always a cause for great excitement. Too, too adorable.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Blockbuster update: Tery and I got to spend our first Sunday alone together without me having to go to some foolish inventory at night (I am, in fact, missing Whole Foods, which fills me with such happiness I feel like I'm born-again). To celebrate we decided to rent a movie. She had a gift card from Blockbuster and I agreed to go, despite having successfully boycotted them for almost a year and a half now. We settled on The Squid and the Whale, but that's not the point. I somewhat self-righteously observed that their customer service skills have actually deteriorated, if that's possible. We waited in line for the one cashier while his co-worker obliviously sorted returns for reshelving, ignoring us completely. When I got to the counter he had to re-enter all my personal data since I hadn't been there in so long, an exchange that took place mostly through a series of grunts on his end. As we exited the store I told Tery this is precisely why I refuse to go there anymore. They have more competition these days, with Netflix and now McDonald's, and yet their employees are more sullen and unfriendly than ever. Only the magic of a free rental card will ever lure me there again.

After Blockbuster we stopped in the grocery store for a few things. As we were waiting in line at the self-scan checkouts, a woman got behind us carrying a single bag of ice. She started huffing and puffing in outrage. When the man in front of us offered to let her go next, she indicated the cause of her anger: a woman with a 1/4 full shopping cart was blithely using one of the self scans, which are marked 15 items or less. We all watched as Ice Woman loudly sputtered her rage. She was a woman after my own heart, not holding back a single thought. Inconsiderate Woman seemingly didn't even hear her, reaching in and delicately scanning each item with such agonizing slowness you'd have thought she was the only one in the whole store. Tery was uncomfortable about Ice Woman's aggressive display ("She's going to walk out with a bag of water, she's so steamed!") but I agreed with her wholeheartedly. By the time we finished our transaction and walked away, Inconsiderate Woman still hadn't gotten down to 15 items in her cart. What's wrong with people? Everyone thinks only about themselves, and THAT'S what is destroying society, not gay marriage. Mark my words.


Coming soon: V for Vendetta
grrgoyl: (sissy)
I already had some stuff to update about, and then this went and happened last night. The Saga of the Crankwhore will have to wait a bit, but I'd like to think my faithful readership (I know you're out there. Just admit it) sees more in me than the vicarious thrill of living next door to a drug dealer that I provide. I have so much stuff to update, as a matter of fact, that I'm extending a rare courtesy and cutting for length. Enjoy it while it lasts.

::The night I thought my sister was killed:: )

::Adventures in Cell Phones and Stupidity:: )

::What you've been waiting for...Crankwhore goodness:: )

::Finally...more about my favorite obsessions:: )


Whew. Quite the exciting week. Something I need to mention in passing is that I put that goddamned Coleman grill on eBay on the advice of [livejournal.com profile] ms_hecubus and [livejournal.com profile] metatronis and would you believe it sold for $100????? Making it only a $20 mistake and much easier to live with. It went to a local woman who met me to pick it up. I refused to take her money before making sure she could use it, but she shrugged me off. "If I can fix airplanes, I think I can work with this." O-KAY. Have at it then and I won't give it another thought. Thanks for the valuable words of wisdom, Michelle and Roxie.

Shutting up now. Now let's see how many tags fit this monstrosity.
grrgoyl: (Good grief Charlie Brown)
Sorry, jimmiesfan. I've resold my laptop (oddly, at the exact same winning bid price). Let's hope littledumplinbrandon is a little more financially secure than you are. Oh, and sorry for cancelling out your no doubt hard-won single feedback with my negative comment, but you know, it was my duty to warn people about the games you play. (It's hard not to let power such as this go to my head, reducing a person's eBay score to 0.)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


I've made my last car payment (YipYip) which frees me that much more from under the thumb of my evil inventory overlords. It also made me realize I'd better start taking care of my hard-working, well-behaved (in the sense of never giving me a moment's trouble) vehicle and maybe change the oil, etc. which hasn't been done in many, many moons. Tery warned me Grease Monkey would suggestive sell all kinds of service to me, so following her advice I refused the air filter and went instead to Checker. I started punching in my info on the little Fram computer to find out what I needed, until I got to the question "What kind of engine do you have?" I have never once in my life been asked this about any car I've ever owned and my brain froze. Deeming it probably unwise to just randomly pick a multiple choice answer, I went to the blond chick behind the counter for help instead. I explained the problem and that I wasn't sure what kind of engine I had. She started entering the specs on HER computer, until she got to "What kind of engine do you have?" and we both froze.

"What kind of engine do you have?" she asked me.

Ummmm, I thought I just explained that I don't know the answer to that. "I honestly don't know," I answered pleasantly.

"You have no idea what your engine is?" she asked again, almost incredulously. Ladies, back me up here. What kind of engines are in YOUR cars? I hate to be stereotypical, but honestly. I was reminded of the line in Shallow Grave when Ewan McGregor asks Kerry Fox what kind of car their new flatmate drives, and she lets out a sigh and says, "How should I know? I'm just a girl!" Or Tery's own mother, who will answer unhelpfully "Red."

All this flashed through my mind, but I answered instead, "I'm sorry. I'm just not that into cars."

Fortunately there happened to be another customer there who worked on Hondas all the time and told her I had a V6. He insisted that Honda only put V6's in their Civics that year, which of course begs the question why Fram seems to think otherwise. It would be ironic if I finally got my car paid off and then blew it up by using the wrong air filter. Is that even possible? I don't know. I'm just a girl.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


One way in which I'm NOT your typical female is how irrationally excited I got when I counted Total Film's latest X-Men issue featuring a limited edition adamantium cover! last night at Barnes & Noble. Of course, had the cover been real adamantium, it probably would have weighed a bit more, but still. I'm too much a sucker for such marketing brilliance. Remembering Gerry mentioning earlier how he wanted to see X3 I decided to share, but he just stared at me blankly. HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT ADAMANTIUM WAS. Can you believe it? He barely knew that Wolvie had 3 claws, and thought they were made of, get this....Wolverantium. In all fairness, he tends to watch movies only once and has a memory almost as dodgy as mine (but probably knows exactly what's under the hood of his car). The ensuing awkwardness was thankfully interrupted by a fangirl store employee geekier than both of us who wanted to model her MI:3 t-shirt. Sheesh. Who the hell cares about THAT movie? (I decided to save myself $9 and read the X3 article on my lunch break. Between you and me? Not really worth $9.)


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Finally, because there is no real place to put this anywhere else (but it has to be said), I was watching one of my favorite movies of all time the other night, Carrington. I noticed how British homes always have nonsensical, posh-sounding names like "Tidmarsh" and "Avon-on-the-Sea" and "Puddlemere." Being now an honourary Englishperson (see previous entry), I thought it only right that our house have something similar. Taking into account our free-range ferrets and their devil-may-care attitude towards litter boxes, Tery very aptly came up with "Puddle-by-the-Door" for our abode. Which probably sounds a bit off-putting to outsiders, but never fails to crack me up, especially when we're on the couch together and she wistfully comments on "summering yet again at Puddle-by-the-Door" in a faux accent.
grrgoyl: (bored now)
My cough is back. Not nearly as bad as before, but enough to make me concerned about relapsing. However, I don't want to pay another $100 for a clinic visit if it's just residual bronchitis. It's times like this when not having insurance truly doth suck.

So I called the Urgent Care for some suggestions and was directed to their help line, 1-800-ASK-A-NURSE (well, without the 1-800, but I thought that sounded funnier). This is where old, retired nurses go to die...but not before dispensing free, dubious advice based on medical knowledge from 10 years ago.

After getting my biddy on the line, I quickly described my situation to her. I had been diagnosed with Strep and bronchitis, I had finished my antibiotics but now a few weeks later the cough has returned. She ran down a script of questions about my symptoms.

Biddy: Do you have a fever?
Me: No.
Biddy: Do you have a runny nose or congestion?
Me: No.
Biddy: Have you had any recent injuries, surgeries or hospitalizations?
Me: No.
Biddy: Do you have a rash?
Me: No.
Biddy: Because sometimes rash can be a symptom of Strep throat, you realize.
Me: I did not know that. But I don't have a rash (and we've already established that I did, indeed, have Strep throat. Can we drop the rash?)
Biddy: Have you had any recent injuries, surgeries or hospitalizations?
Me: (stiffly) ... No.
Biddy: Do you have a sore throat?
Me: It's not sore, just dry. I get a tickle sometimes and it makes me cough. But it's very intermittent. I mean, we've been talking for how long now and I haven't coughed once.
Biddy: So you have a dry throat.
Me: Right. And it feels tight sometimes. Like when I try to sing.
Biddy: When you try to what?
Me: Sing. When I try to sing.
Biddy: (incredulously) Well how often do you have to sing?
Me: Not often, but I'd still like it to be an option.
Biddy: .....
Me: And also, I don't know if this is related, but they found a meth lab next door in my neighbor's unit about 6 months ago and they're still in the process of cleaning it up. I wonder if that could be why I'm still sick?
Biddy: (Impatiently) Oh, I don't know what goes on in those labs. (Harumph)

Her prognosis was that I didn't need to go back to the doctor. Her prescription included a lot of stuff like tea with honey, long, hot showers, cough drops, glasses of water and headache powder (okay, so that last was Tery's addition). I have to say, it's a damn good thing it's a free service or I would want my money back. I wonder if MyFriendDeb could get a job working there, since they share the same remedies? Either way, I forgot I have my very own Ask-A-Nurse, my sister in Boston. Who sadly is too busy working three jobs to take my calls.

ADDENDUM: Finally got through to my sister, who amusingly sobbed, "I don't know what goes on in a meth lab either. Does that make me a bad nurse?"
grrgoyl: (hustle)
I just had to deal with the least professional store employee I think I've ever seen.

My needs were simple: I had to ship a DVD I just sold on Half.com. That's all. Not wanting to wait in line behind all the geriatrics that appear like clockwork at the post office every Monday, I opted to use the handy-dandy new postal branch installed in the Shell station across the street. Despite being the only customer in the store, I had to wait a good 2 or 3 minutes for the woman manning the counter to finish getting her beverage first. Strike one, but whatever. Back when I worked in customer service, the needs of the customer came before my own, but that policy has been out of practice for almost as long as I've been out of customer service, apparently.

As I soon learned, waiting for her to refill her coffee would be the least stressful portion of the transaction. I barely got my package on the scale when she launched into a barrage of personal problems on me.

"Oh, my day better not get any worse, cuz I'm about to go off on someone," she began.

Hoo boy. "Really?" I asked politely, which I did NOT mean as an invitation to give me every minute detail.

"I just finished a 40-hour course in...*mental calculation*...16 hours."

I have no idea what that means, I thought. I said, "Wow!" as if I was suitably impressed.

"I found out my son is at the Kansas border already..." again, no idea what you're talking about, "...the house is a wreck, the painter hasn't finished yet, I didn't get my TREE up..." Tree? My god people, can we please get to Thanksgiving first??? "Now I've got to train 2 people while trying to cover THIS area. My store is falling apart." Good show, make the customer feel guilty for requiring your services.

In the words of Denis Leary in The Ref, "What are we, girlfriends now?" Lady. I. Don't. CARE. I just want to mail out my one little package and get back to my own life. And if possible, accomplish this tiny little chore without feeling like you might pull a weapon out from under the desk at any minute just because your house is a mess.

We did complete the transaction without bloodshed, and as I walked away I threw her a "Good luck!" over my shoulder. Her response was MORE whining. "I told my husband, 'You just get the big-screen set up and I'll be happy!'" Okay, probably not the best tactic if you're looking for sympathy. Yes, your house is a shambles and tragically treeless, but at the end of the day you have a new big-screen TV and I'm just praying our 10-year-old 27" lasts until we get a little further out of debt.

Unfortunately her day probably got a little worse after I left. It wasn't until I was on the road that I realized she didn't charge me for the mailer I packed the DVD in. Not for lack of me trying, I DID point it out to her. We were both just so caught up in her troubles that it slipped our minds. In my mind I justified it because $1.20, while being highway robbery to charge for an envelope, is a very, very small price to pay for such a valuable life lesson. That being, when you go to work, leave your personal issues at home. Your place of employment (and especially in the face of your customers) is absolutely not the place for them.
grrgoyl: (Default)
Crankwhore action:

That sneaky Tracey's at it again! She and her deceptively well-groomed boyfriend have been busy installing new hardwood floors in her place...and then spending days and days and days (from the sound of it) buffing and polishing them with a very loud machine. That is, until this notice appeared on her door.

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If it isn't obvious, those words behind the bars (where, ironically, that filthy crankwhore should be) are "Order to Vacate" and "Unsafe to Occupy." Followed by a lot of nonsense about "unsafe for human habitation until written notice" and "must vacate premises by Oct 12." Followed by a Penalty of a $1000 fine or 1 year in jail for removing the notice. She hasn't removed it, evidence that she can indeed read. Which you otherwise wouldn't be able to tell, since they spent all day on the 12th moving appliances out (a none-too-quiet process, I assure you) well past the 2 p.m. deadline, and have been sneaking in and out ever since to remove other little odds and ends. Yesterday they were in there for most of the day removing, I kid you not, the kitchen cabinets. WTF??? So the place has new hardwood floors but the kitchen is apparently completely gutted. Makes sense, in a crack-induced sort of haze. I didn't realize cabinetry had a large enough resale value to warrant risking being caught and arrested. But then, clearly someone with the level of determination required to break the law so extensively by setting up a whole meth lab won't be so easily deterred by a little piece of paper. Tery saw a suspicious-looking guy wandering around in front of the building, sneaking glances up to her place, and then getting on his cellphone. Because Mr. and Mrs. CW are just that stupid that they spent the whole day in the unit with their front door wide open. Sadly, I didn't get to see them haul her off in cuffs again (not for lack of me camping out at the peephole). I called the number on the door just to make absolutely certain someone is on top of it, just doing my neighborly duty.

Television action:

I know this will disappoint [livejournal.com profile] velmaneuwirth considerably, but I've watched discs 2 and 3 out of 4 in the Firefly set, and I'm just not moved to buy it. Don't get me wrong, it's a promising show. The characters are great, the actors are terrific. I'm amazed how quickly I got over my hatred of Nathan "Caleb" Fillion, amazed that he can play good and evil with equal skill. Alan Tudyk is always hilarious. Ironically my favorite character is shaping up to be Jayne, as much as I'm normally not into the "manly men." It just seems like he gets all the funniest lines. The episode "Out of Gas" absolutely blew me away. The clever interweaving of timelines, the humorous back story, the first time Mal lays eyes on his beloved Serenity. LOVED IT. (loved the commentary too, especially when they told the story of Alan Tudyk stealing the big red button off the set and sending it to Joss to "call back the shuttles" if he managed to save the show. I wept.)

But it has lots of big strikes against it too. First that comes to mind is, of course, no mention anywhere of Giles from Buffy. Yeah, his participation in the show would have been a huge draw for me. Second, I'm not a fan at all of westerns, even if they are set in outer space. Lastly, and biggest of all, just the one season. I might change my mind after seeing the last disc, but I think this will be just another one of those shows that could have developed into greatness if Fox wasn't so short-sighted. The potential is there, but now we'll never know. I think back on Buffy Season One. Good, sure, but not great. Season Two was when it really started getting great. Left to stand on just the merits of Season One, I doubt it would have become the smash phenomenon that it did. Given just one or two more seasons, I might have grown to love Firefly every inch as much as I do Buffy.

Another big strike against it is that there are about 5 DVD releases this month that I want more, and simply not enough money for all of them. Sorry, Jemma.

Just the opposite of this, however, is Lost. We didn't watch the first season on TV, mostly because I originally thought it was like a Survivor rip-off. And if there's anything I loathe in this world, it's any show that involves voting people off every week. By the time we realized it wasn't a reality show, it was far too late and the season was almost over. We rented the first disc last Sunday during Denver's "big" Oct snowstorm (3 inches. The news channels were freaking out. We New Englanders were rolling our eyes so hard we got headaches).

Oh. My. God. Holy SHIT. Why didn't anyone tell us how great this show was? From the very first episode we were on the edge of our seats. The mysteries. The drama. Sayid. What's not to love? (admittedly, Tery wasn't as swept away by Sayid as I was. She's mad, I tell you. Those big brown eyes, like luscious pools of dark chocolate? Long lashes a Cover Girl would kill for? The bronzed skin? The soft, black, curly locks? The undercurrent of danger beneath the gentle exterior? Yep. Mad as a march hare, I tell you.)

I could swim in those eyes for hours

Don't look at me that way, you naughty boy. I'll only break your heart.

We immediately ran out upon finishing disc 1 and got discs 2 and 3. We devoured them like boar's meat and went back for more (but not before sampling the commentary on the pilot episode, which had to be shut off suddenly when they drifted perilously close to revealing spoilers about the enormous thing in the jungle that we haven't seen yet). We talked about just buying the boxed set. Sexy as the packaging is, I tend to think once the mysteries are revealed the show wouldn't be terribly interesting to watch repeatedly. But I could be wrong about this as well.

I returned discs 2 and 3 and picked up 4 and 5, and this is when I encountered probably one of the stupidest people I've ever met. The young girl behind the counter at Hollywood examined the box closely, then started asking questions so vague that I'm still not really sure what she was asking:

"Is this still on?"

"Ummmmm.....the show is still on, but it's on season two now."

"So they're not showing this anymore?"

Huh? "...Season two is being aired now. Season one is on DVD, as you can see right there in your hand."

After some closer scrutiny, "Oh!! So this is just starting!"

If you could call two seasons into it "just starting" perhaps..."Yeah." I said, defeated.

Pause. Pause. Pause. "Is this the whole show?" she asked, referring to the cases in her hand clearly marked "Disc Four" and "Disc Five."

My god, it's a wonder she remembered to dress before coming to work. "No, there are 7 discs in the first season."

Pause. Pause. Pause. Letting it sink through the very dense strata. "I don't have much time to watch TV anyway, with my kid and all." Sorry, Human Race, too late. She's already spawned.

As a further demonstration of her shining intellect, she scanned my card to ring me up, noticed the previous discs still out on my account (I had just dumped them in the return box), and left me standing there while she checked those discs back in (despite having a full 15 hours before they were actually due), THEN completed the current transaction. Oh yeah. Be afraid, Human Race. Be very afraid.

Going out and having fun action:

Lastly, we were invited by Kay (the shallow, tactless Makeover Queen) to a night at the improv. We agreed, making it a group of 9 (a rather unwieldy number to make arrangements for, but I was hardly in a position to complain). We took the Light Rail downtown, myself, Tery and of course Two-Date Tabby -- who had the nerve to criticize me crushing on boys while being accompanied by her two current boyfriends, Tim and Ryan. "Lesbi-who-be-whatsit?" was my response to her. Though in fairness, Ryan might take exception to the label "boyfriend" (at least with regards to women). Here he is with Tery:

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He's quiet, shy, but funny and disarming and given to affection quickly. As you can see, Tery's a big fan of him as well. He's our newest, cutest gay male friend. He's in love with Tery's brother after seeing pictures, but sadly he's in New York and not likely to move. So I guess we'll do until he can meet Jason. I think Tabby's jealous that Ryan lives 5 minutes from us and not her.

The improv was enormously funny. I could tell because when it was over I felt like I'd done an hour of ab exercises, and I had to beg everyone to not make me laugh for awhile. Really, really fun, and we all swore on the spot to make a habit of returning to their little rundown theater in the city. We left and started walking, I assumed back to the Light Rail station. Tery led the way in a forced march 7 blocks away. People at the front started muttering, "This better be a great bar!" I overheard and said, "But we're not going to a bar...." But yes, we were. No one told those of us in the back. Fine, this was the kinder, gentler me who was trying to sympathize with Tery having fun and relaxing with friends.

We arrived at Fado's and the joint was jumpin'. It was nice enough, but the live band was very, very loud, and I screamed myself hoarse just trying to have a conversation with the people next to me. The cigarette smoke verged on the overwhelming, it was hot, crowded, loud, yeah, I wasn't enjoying it. The only nice thing was the waitress kept a steady stream of Cokes coming my way, Tery explained because she didn't have to wait for the bartender to pour them. When the tab came and everyone tried to sort out who had consumed $60 worth of shots, Tery pointed to my share of the bill, $1.75. Yep, I'm a cheap date and proud of it.

Everyone else present (except for Tery and Ryan) got pretty hammered. Audrey was there (she of the "this must be pretty hard for you, with your dead father and all") and still saying bizarre things to me that I had no idea how to respond to. Like, "I just love your profile, Elaine" and "You're such a good sport, Elaine, putting up with all us drunks!" I just don't know how to talk to that girl.

At 1:30 when the bar started closing down, Tery and I went to leave for the Light Rail. Everyone else there insisted it had stopped running for the night. Tery insisted it ran all night, just "slower" (she meant "less frequently"). Audrey and Kay burst out laughing at her choice of words and I swear I could have punched them. Our only choice was a cab, which I knew would be expensive. Ryan asked to share with us. After a not-so-amusing interval of plastered Audrey trying to teach me how to use a cellphone (in between fretting about what we were going to do, until I flat out told her that we were grown-ups and we'd handle it), we realized we could just go out to the street and flag one down (we're both small-town girls, give us a break). Lickety split we got one and piled in so fast we didn't even get to say goodbye to everyone in our group (not such a hardship, in my opinion).

We sat and watched helplessly as the fare clicked higher and higher. Tery bitched and moaned at the logic of Denver wanting people to come downtown and spend their money and have fun, but then fail to provide them with affordable transportation home again. $22 later we were back at the Light Rail station.....just in time to see a train arrive full of passengers. Motherfucker. Sure enough, I checked online this morning and the last train runs at 2:15. We would have caught it in plenty of time if we weren't so focused on getting a cab. But it was my first ride, so that was kind of exciting. I still think those people at the table who laughed at Tery should pay her back the fare, however.

I want to invite Ryan to Halloween.
grrgoyl: (ewan clone)
Last night after work, Tery and I were invited out drinking by Gerry and Steve, who just happen to be two of my most well-tolerated co-workers (and, dare I say it, friends). The funny thing is that very morning Tery and I were fighting about yet another of her drunken nights out with Tabby. We had in fact spent the better part of the day not even speaking. "I'm sorry," I said reconciliatorily just before going into work, "I just don't understand what people do in a bar for 6 straight hours."

They invited us to join them at City Pub (nee Toby Jug) and we agreed. MyFriendDeb said she'd be along too, a surprising response from someone who usually acts like she'll vaporize if she isn't in bed by midnight (she ultimately didn't show after all, however, confirming that last statement). Tery and I ran home to put on some civilian clothing, leaving poor Steve as the only schmuck in a RGIS shirt. But Steve's a good sport.

We thus commenced having a pretty good time. I succumbed to peer pressure and had a rum and Coke, but then regained my resolve and switched to plain Coke thereafter. There was trash-talking of co-workers, there was singing of karaoke by Tery (to much acclaim), and there was playing of pool. Despite Steve and my protestations of not being very good, we achieved not one but TWO decisive victories over Gerry and Tery. There were those present who argued that winning by your opponent scratching on the 8-ball hardly constituted a "decisive victory." Those people are what we in the biz call "sore losers." To them I would (and did) say that I don't make the rules. I assure you, their sore loserness didn't take away one bit from the sweet, sweet pleasure of chalking up two marks on the scoreboard for Steve and me, and two big zeroes for G and T.

It wasn't all good, wholesome fun however. There was a couple at the bar engaging in some very heavy petting, the male half committing serious fashion overkill with his headwear choices: a bandanna covered by a baseball cap with sunglasses perched on top. Why not just add a damn sombrero? But they weren't half as offensive as a guy making the rounds collecting donations for his limping yellow lab, Sierra. Gerry didn't like the cut of his jib one bit, and his barely-disguised contempt deteriorated into seething rage and ideations of violence as the night wore on. Leading me to believe there's something in the air of that place that affects certain people this way. Remember little Tabby working herself into a belligerent frenzy over a total stranger rooting for the Chiefs instead of the Broncos? As these are not the actions of rational human beings, I can only blame some environmental agent. It took the combined strength of Tery, Steve and myself just to keep him from jumping the guy and crushing his windpipe. That's a lie. Actually we drank until last call and parted ways peacefully (although Gerry did apologize for making me witness his display of unaccustomed aggression).

As we got into my car and talked about what a good time we had, Tery pronounced solemnly, "THAT'S what people do in bars for 6 hours straight." I guess I'll be relaxing a bit about her going out all the time.



&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Now for the Serenity saga. I had just enough friends on my F-list squeeing about the movie to pique my interest. I knew about Firefly but was never sufficiently interested, lacking as it did any involvement by my man, ASH. After reading multiple rave reviews of the shortlived series on various sites, I decided to make the leap into a Giles-less Jossverse. But I wasn't going to begin at the end, that would be retarded. I was going to watch the series DVDs first, THEN go to Serenity. I added disc one to my Netflix queue on the same Friday the movie came out. At the time, its availability was listed as "Now," so it was all good. Come Monday, its status had changed to "Long Wait." WTF????? Somehow all those other bandwagon-jumpers had gotten ahead of me in line. Grrrrrrrrr......

I decided to set foot in my Hollywood Video again after a 5-month hiatus. I was encouraged by the first section of the wall titled, "Hot TV shows on DVD," but no dice. I made a quick circuit of the wall of New Releases, then asked the sole employee present, a meek, teenaged girl, if they carried it. She glanced through their flyer of recent release dates and said no. Grrrrrrrrrrr....... I was even driven to return to the Blockbuster across the street, bastion of some of the world's rudest employees and a place I swore I would never darken with my shadow ever again. Thankfully my presence will remain anonymous, as they didn't have it either.

I settled for disc two (which I'm sure will also have a long wait before too long) and that arrived Saturday. But it rankled me that I had to start even just three episodes in (though still a damn sight better than seeing the film first) so I didn't give it up. I fought mightily against the urge to just buy the DVD set based on the fantastic reviews everyone wrote about it, but I am trying to develop some modicum of restraint as far as running out and buying things the minute I decide I (might possibly) want them. After some investigation, I realized the DVD actually came out in 2002, so obviously my search for it among the new releases was futile (as well as teenybopper checking the new releases flyer for it). Hollywood's site claimed to have knowledge of it. I reasoned it HAD to be there, nestled in the shelves of the older releases (though of mild irritation was the thought that a video store, whose business it is to stay on top of the movie industry, missed an obvious marketing tie-in with a big, mainstream film release).

I had every intention of returning to the Hollywood after work last night, until we received that lovely social invitation. No matter, I thought. I'll just go first thing in the morning. At 9:54 a.m. I was there, ready to be the first one through the door. I clearly jinxed myself, because at 10:02 when I felt they'd had adequate chance to open up, I went to the door only to find a sign posted: "Sorry, we're closed due to computer problems. We'll open as soon as it is possible." Awwwwww, tits. No indication of how long it would take, so I decided to tough it out. Many customers came and went as I sat. People are so stupid funny. When confronted with an unexpectedly locked door, some of them will pull and pull and try to break it down before bothering to read the sign posted right in front of their eyes. We see this a lot during inventories as well; customers simply refuse to accept that stores might sometimes have to close during normal business hours. As amusing as it was to watch parents escort their happy, skipping children to the door, only to walk away again glum and disappointed, after two hours of it the entertainment value was decidedly waning. Yes, I sat there for two hours. I was haunted by the idea that they HAD to open any. minute. now. Plus you don't want to get between me and my DVDs when there's the possibility of a sexy new boxed set purchase in the offing.

When I FINALLY got in the front door, I was not in any mood to browse through the entire store trying to guess which genre they would classify it as. I went straight to the counter and the spotty, meek teenaged boy standing there.

"Yeah, I'm looking for that TV series, Firefly. Would you mind checking for it?"

"Okay...." he had to log in first, requiring him to perform so many keystrokes I thought he was booking me a plane trip as well. "Let's see...Fire and Ice, Firebirds, Firestarter....what was the name again?"

Oh for the love of...."Firefly."

His brow squinched up in concentration. "We've got Firefight....." he offered hopefully.

"I don't want just any movie with the word 'fire' in the title. I'm looking for just the one."

At this point his boss jumped in. She'd never heard of it either. I pointed out it had been out since 2002. Her best advice was to call around to every local Hollywood and check for it, since different branches carry different titles. I'm not quite at that level of insanity yet, so I'm hoping good old disc two here will help me decide whether I want to own it or not. I've caught a couple of episodes off SciFi. So far it strikes me as a huge rip-off of Farscape (without the awesome creature effects).
grrgoyl: (Default)
Last week we got called about four times by the same unknown number. On the fifth call I finally answered just to make them stop. It turned out to be a marketing company wanting my opinion on a television sitcom, as well as asking about my history of reflux. I'm always happy to share my opinion on things, plus they promised the possibility of fabulous prizes, so I agreed to their study. They had to ship me a videotape so we went over my mailing address very carefully.

Me: ____ South Atchison Way #___, Colorado ____ (information unnecessary to this story omitted to discourage the many stalkers I believe I have)

Her: Atchison is A as in aardvark, T as in Tommy, C as in cat, H as in Hector, I as in ice cream, N as in Nancy, S as in Sammy, O as in owl, N as in Nancy?

Me: No, there's no N. Just AtCHIson.

Her: Okay, let me try again. I have S as in Sammy, O as in owl, U as in Utah, T as in Tommy, H as in Hector...

*sigh* You get the picture. She went on this way all the way up to C as in cat, O as in owl for the abbreviation of Colorado. You'd think I was getting FBI dossiers, they were taking it so seriously. An hour later, she was finally wrapping it up. She wanted to make sure I could watch the tape on Monday so they could call me for feedback on Tuesday. I hesitated because Monday was going to be a very long workday for me, but just wanted to be through with her.

I told Tery about the call and she reminded me she had been through one of these things before. She said I could expect to sit through a stupid sitcom pilot that didn't go anywhere and then they'd waste a half hour of my time asking me about the commercials, all for the tentative promise of an alleged drawing for fabulous prizes. Being thus forewarned, I hoped perhaps the tape might come on Saturday so I could cheat and watch it Sunday instead, but no such luck.

All this was forgotten come Monday morning. I felt fine when I woke up. I felt fine in the shower. As I was getting dressed, however, I started having a progressively worsening reflux attack (before people freak out that it was tied in somehow with the marketing survey, I have had mild reflux off and on for about 6 months now). This was the worst ever, culminating in violent and copious vomiting about 4 times in a row. Tery declared that there was no way I was going to work after that, and I didn't put up much of an argument. I crawled back into bed while she went in without me.

She returned 3 hours later with ginger ale and Pepcid AC. She woke me up and recoiled in horror. She fetched a mirror to show me what the problem was. The ferocity of my vomiting had burst most of the blood vessels in my eyes, as well as tiny little capillaries around them. I looked a lot like this:

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Braaaaaiiiiins.....

Repulsive, yes. Even my cat Alsatia seemed to be regarding me with mild alarm. But since it didn't actually hurt or affect my vision, it amused me highly to use my new look to gross her out (Tery that is, not the cat). Every time she looked at me, her lip would curl involuntarily in disgust. She bragged that she was an old pro at throwing up, and if she looked like I did after every episode she might quit drinking. I speculated if there was a way to artificially create the effect so she would do so. We also had great fun pretending that Tery had kicked my ass. I emailed photos to her co-workers and warned them to stay on her good side, or she'd take a lead pipe to them.

She said she would never leave the house looking this way. I on the other hand can't wait to. A) when people see me at work, they'll know I wasn't faking a sick day on Monday (although with my track record and high work ethic this shouldn't be questioned anyway), and B) I kind of like it. I think it brings out the green in my eyes. This is what it calmed down to today:

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If this picture looks unnaturally pale and washed-out by comparison, it's because the bathroom lighting really diminished the true shockingness of it. In reality it does look still worse than this.

My little sister the nurse was very disturbed by my symptoms, and lamented that I didn't have health insurance. She also warned me that eye injuries like this take about a month to heal (I have a baby shower to attend this Sunday. Tery said I would be the "belle of the ball"). She pointed out that Christmas was coming, and promised my present would be either a consultation with a gastroenterologist, or the Scrubs DVD. How screwed up am I that I'd rather have the DVD?

To bring this story full circle, the marketing tape arrived via UPS Monday morning (I wish other more important deliveries could be scheduled as precisely). The package included dire instructions to neither fast forward nor rewind the tape, ensuring I wouldn't miss any commercials. I was relieved that now I had the whole day to finish the survey. Except the tape didn't work in my player. It would come up for half a second and then stop. I tried many times with the same result. Worse, when I tried to eject the tape I discovered it had jammed up so badly that by the time I wrestled it out, my player was busted. Oh, sonofa..... I gleefully waited for their callback this afternoon.

Her: Yes, ma'am, I'm calling to see if you reviewed the material?

Me: No, I didn't. The tape wouldn't work, then it jammed up and broke my VCR.

Her: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. That means we can't go any further with the questionnaire.

Me: (quietly seething)

Her: Well, have a nice day, ma'am, and perhaps we can call you again sometime in the future.

Me: (explosively) Don't bother! I have to buy a new VCR now because of you people!!!!!!

Her: (very quietly) Oh, okay ma'am....*click*

I never expected them to replace my VCR. But I certainly didn't expect them to try to pretend that everything was still hunky-dory between us. What part of "You broke my fucking VCR and I'm not terribly happy about it" wasn't sinking in with her?

I honestly hope the call was "monitored for quality assurance." These people have no idea who they're dealing with.
grrgoyl: (perfect drug)
It was with much dread that I called AOL today to try to cancel. I say "try to" because I went through this once before and I know that their operators must work under threat of execution or at the very least serious pay cuts to do everything in their power to keep you as a customer. They are DESPERATE to keep you from cancelling. They will beg, wheedle and flatter you...everything but offer to lower their ridiculously high monthly rates for crappy, crappy dial-up. Obviously last time I came crawling back to them; not because I realized how much I love them, but because the cheaper ISP I was trying to switch to was pathetic and very difficult to use by contrast. But not this time. I'm not going back this time.

So I spoke to Matt. Matt had clearly spent some time in the tech support trenches, because he used the same sickening, obsequious patter. Ugh.

Matt: Thank you for calling America Online. How can I help you today?

Me: Yes, I need to cancel my account.

Matt: I'm very sorry to hear that, but I can certainly help you with that today (translation: Only over my cold, dead body will you cancel your account. But I will let you go on believing I will help you) Is there anything in particular about our service that you find unsatisfactory?

Me: (You mean besides getting kicked offline daily for no apparent reason and everything taking an hour to do?) No, I just got a cable modem recently.

Matt: Oh, aren't they great? I got DSL three months ago and I'll never go back to dial-up!! (suddenly remembering who he works for) But is there any way I can convince you to stay with us? (translation...on second thought, I think this is funny enough without any needed)

Me: No, I'm reeeeeeeally enjoying this faster connection I've got now.

He kept reiterating all the many benefits of AOL in slightly different ways until I lost patience and had to be rude. They will chew your ear all day with this stuff until you give in from sheer exhaustion. I said I appreciated that he was required to do everything he could to convince me but I had to get back to work so was in a hurry. Matt, being the wily one that he is, switched tactics and decided to focus on the fact that AOL offers McAfee virus protection - a subject I know just little enough about that he smelled blood in the water and moved in for the kill. He talked me into letting him waive my next month's fee to give me time to consider staying with their $10-a-month plan to take advantage of the protection. Oh, they are good. I agreed to this, but the instant I hung up I checked out what Comcast has to offer. They have McAfee protection for $30 a year...only $2.50 a month. Matt, Matt, you slimy weasel. Why aren't you selling used cars?

Now that I have a leisurely month, I'm going to beat Matt at his own game. I'm going to cancel by mail so there will be no embarrassing begging and pleading. I am going to write a lovely letter outlining all the problems I've had with AOL, most of them in the last month alone. I will say it in no uncertain terms and using small words so they can understand.

I said good day to you, sir!

P.S.: Sorry, more cable modem luv. Last night I downloaded the "Perfect Drug" video...the VIDEO, not the song...in about 10 minutes. Hence my smashing new icon.
grrgoyl: (Tick)
Still no word from the guy who only wanted to dabble in eBay selling to toy with my emotions and waste my valuable time. As much as I'd love to move on and buy elsewhere, apparently recently portable DVD batteries have become quite the hot item and I had to begrudgingly admit I would be getting a hell of a deal (especially with free shipping)...that is assuming I could ever get the guy to hold up his end of the bargain. So since my latest email to him is apparently being ignored, I did the next best thing and tattled to eBay. This might seem like an extreme reaction, especially considering he had me cancel my payment so I'm not even out anything at this point. But if the situation were reversed, if I had won the auction but then not paid, he could similarly report me and be well within his rights. This is why there are reminders all over the site that listing an item and bidding on it is a binding contract.

Unfortunately the process to report a non-selling seller involved submitting certain technical information, namely the full headers of the incriminating email (i.e. "Sender's return path isp 97.610.56 net Mozilla" blah blah blah and all that). Since AOL is designed to be used by the lowest common denominator of the population, this information is not included on emails, nor is it immediately apparent how to get to it. After a perfunctory search through AOL's nefariously useless Help page (which again, is tailored to serve even (or only) the stupidest people on the planet) I swallowed my pride, squinched up my eyes and entered the AOL Live Technical Help arena.

I was eye-squinching in preparation for the obsequious bowing and scraping of the tech support person, and they didn't disappoint. This time I kept a copy of the session so I could include actual quotes (in case anyone didn't believe me). As you can see, it took Tech Live Janice quite a bit of ass-kissing before she could get to actually answering my question, I suspect a stalling tactic while she asked someone else what the answer was.

TechLiveJani :I appreciate this excellent opportunity to handle this issue for you :) (Praise Allah for giving me the chance to serve you, Holiest of Holy AOL Users!)

[Here there was a silence long enough to become uncomfortable, so I thought maybe she actually required a response to this]

Grrgoyl :thanks

TechLiveJani :No problem, I'm sure we can take care of that.

TechLiveJani :I'll do my best to make sure this is your last call for this particular problem. (Well, it's not as if it's been plaguing me night and day, tormenting my every waking hour. It really is just a quick, minor question because I'm too lazy to search the whole internet)

TechLiveJani :Elaine, when you get an email it automatically shows all the email addresses from where it has come from or to whom all this email has been sent.

TechLiveJani :When you open an email there is an arrow in the middle of that email on top. (See what I mean about "lowest common denominator"? Are there honestly people who go through all the trouble of Tech Support because they can't find the little "expand" arrow up there?)

Grrgoyl :I need to see the technical header, with the mozilla info and all that.

TechLiveJani :Could you please clarify more on this statement? (Because like most of our simpleton users, the only header I ever care about is the email subject and the return address...and I do technical support for a LIVING!!)

Grrgoyl :This is the example I was given: From: Received: from 207.214.211.69 (ppp-207-214-211-69.sntc01.pacbell.net [207.214.211.69]) by mail gw5.pacbell.net (8.8.8/8.7.1) with SMTP id GAA15251; Mon, 22 Mar 1999

Grrgoyl :for instance

TechLiveJani :Are you able to open that email?

Grrgoyl :yes

TechLiveJani :Has it been sent from a NON-AOL address?

Grrgoyl :yes

TechLiveJani :Do you see a Details Tab under the email addresses?

Grrgoyl :ahhh...that's what I need. Thanks!

TechLiveJani :You're welcome.

TechLiveJani :Here you will get all the information. (*through gritted teeth* Yes, thank you. I can see it.)

TechLiveJani :Is there anything else I can assist you with at this time?

Grrgoyl : No, that's all I needed. Have a nice day

TechLiveJani :You too!! (Okay. Let's not make a big thing about this.)

TechLiveJani :Bye and take care :) (Please. It's getting embarrassing now.)

TechLiveJani :It has been my pleasure assisting you. ( Good day, madam....I SAID GOOD DAY!)

Grrgoyl LEFT SESSION

*peeling tech support lady off my leg*

I was mildly mortified that it was such an easy solution, but it never occurred to me to click on the "Details" thingie. And why don't they just put that on their help page? Still, this does not, repeat DOES NOT, put me in the same category as people who never think to try the "expand" arrow. Shut up.
grrgoyl: (shrek)
I love vegetables. I really do. Broccoli, asparagus, peas, corn, even squash...yum. Yet whenever I am charged with buying the ingredients for dinner, I AlwaysAlwaysAlways end up forgetting about the vegetables, so consistently in fact that at this point it is becoming hugely hilarious.

Today for example, I had to get only 5 items: ground beef, ketchup, condensed milk, an onion and broccoli. Simple, no? Well it would be if I wasn't too pigheaded to write them down. My method of grocery shopping is to remember the number of things I am supposed to get, and shop until I have that number of things. The obvious flaw in this plan is that as I wander down the aisles, invariably things get mentally added to the list so often that the original number is quite forgotten.

Before I left I talked to Tery on the phone. "Now what are you getting for dinner?" she asked to test me.

"Ummm, the meat, ketchup...condensed milk....and....don't tell me...an onion!" I was so proud of myself for remembering that last one.

"And BROCCOLI!!!!!" she yelled, exasperated.

"Yeah, and broccoli! And creme eggs!"

"Okay, but I'm not quite sure how those will figure into the recipe..."

Ha, ha, ha we laughed at the time.

You can see where this is going. I sailed blissfully on by, literally within inches of the broccoli, and hell-bent as I was on the onion it registered not the faintest blip on my radar. Until I was halfway home again in rush hour traffic screaming the F-word repeatedly in my car and pounding on my steering wheel. But I did get the creme eggs at least. Who says they don't qualify as a side dish?

In other news I'm just going to stop going to Blockbuster, period. I don't care how bloody convenient it is compared to Hollywood. The chick behind the counter has zero customer relation skills. I waited in line to check for a copy of Finding Neverland behind the desk since the shelf was empty. After making me wait 5 minutes while she talked to a customer on the phone (a huge pet peeve of mine, people who shop by phone), and I politely and patiently stared at the marquee, I asked if they had any. "No." she answered curtly. Not "Sorry, no" or "No but I can have it reserved for you when we get one in" just No period silence. I'm sorry if I'm the 15th customer to ask today but you know, that's your fucking lot in life for taking this job; it doesn't have to be mine to deal with your personal frustration. So I walked away just as rudely although I stopped short of announcing that I was going straight to their competitor, as she probably already knew and/or didn't care. My only regret is not getting her name so I could file a complaint against her, because this is certainly not the first time she has fallen tragically short of my customer service expectations.

So, from Hollywood Video I got I ♥ huckabees (mainly for Tery), Finding Neverland and Secret Window, because I just feel like OD'ing on Johnny for some reason.

Edit: Okay, I lied. I DID send in a complaint about her.

"I was in your store at approximately 3:30 pm on 03/25/05. I was looking for a copy of a new release that wasn't on the shelf so I tried to check for one behind the counter. I did not get the employee's name, but she is a young African-American woman that I have dealt with on multiple occasions in the past. She is always rude and curt with me, and today was no exception. She didn't have a copy, but didn't offer to reserve a copy for me or even apologize for not having what I wanted. I don't expect much from salesclerks, but a small amount of courtesy goes a long way. I don't know if she realizes there is a Hollywood Video right across the street, which is where I will be shopping from this point on because of her. They always have plenty of new titles and their employees are friendly, polite, and don't act like helping me is a huge inconvenience for them. Thank you for your time."

Do NOT fuck with me. Because I am just vindictive enough and have just enough free time to follow up on things if I am pushed too far.
grrgoyl: (savagecat)
Joke: What's the difference between America and Canada? Canadians think there's a difference.

Well evidently they think right. I know this because today I spent another 20 Minutes Of My Life That I'll Never Get Back on the phone with yet another Clueless, Making-$17-An-Hour-To-Do-Nothing techie over my email issues. We went again down her little checklist of possible solutions, most of which looked discouragingly familiar. She asked me AGAIN how big the email was. Apparently there is a way to check actual MB size (not that my mail falls even remotely close to the MB category), which unfortunately involves clicking on the mail in the "Sent" folder. I think my patience was stupendously admirable as I explained that I couldn't do that, as I CAN'T. SEND. THE MAIL. (is anyone even LISTENING to me over there??). With each failure my voice took on an even more smug, self-righteous, been-there-tried-that tone (purely against my will, I swear). She said they would check it out on their end, as it was entirely possible the problem was with them and not me (which I am almost certain of, based on Operation: Delete and Reinstall being a resounding disappointment), but for now I should try the AOL Canada website to send my mail (which worked like a charm because, like everything else, it is better made than American products). I asked when I should call back if I still had the problem, and she laughed and said I could call back as often as I liked. And instantly realized her mistake when I made it clear this wasn't nearly as amusing to me and I certainly had better things to do than chat with Tech Support all day. I kind of regret being so harsh, only because it earned me no less than four apologies for the frustration in embarrassingly quick succession.

Her last words to me were, ironically, "Thank you for using America Online." I thought that demonstrated a remarkable level of hubris, because if I can't do something as basic as send email (did I mention I'm paying $24 a month?) I very well might have to go elsewhere for my internet needs (which I say all the time, then always come crawling back to AOL. Damn their user-friendliness.)

HateHateHateHateHateHateHateHate
grrgoyl: (fightclub)
I am quickly losing patience with computers. Or specifically, my computer.

This new intolerance began when it occurred to me just how many cumulative months I have spent watching a little blue download bar march agonizingly across the screen, moving as stubbornly slowly as a blue-hair Sunday driver on Tuesday. I imagine my life being measured in these little percent increments. There is plenty of time for all manner of such crazy thoughts while I watch the little download bar's maddeningly miniscule progress. Even worse are the download windows that generate a "time remaining" screen. What they fail to mention is that the time remaining is computer time, not human time. In this skewed measurement (not unlike dog years), "8 minutes" could actually translate into "20 minutes" or more. Please don't toy with me so, download screen. A little more truth in advertising, please.

In this same vein, I am rapidly losing my faith in tech support people. I had trouble with some software, software I've been using regularly for a year or more, which suddenly and inexplicably started producing error messages and stopped doing what it was supposed to (my long-time readers will remember said software from the infamous and aptly-named Computers Will Be the Death of Me post). It took over a week of going back and forth on the support message board before we solved the problem. The whole time I just wanted them to come out and admit they had no idea what to tell me, and stop wasting my time. But I did get a free upgrade to a new version that normally would have cost about $60. So it wasn't all bad.

This week my problem is with sending email via AOL. Sending brief (i.e. 15 lines or less) communiques entails about a 2-minute wait after hitting "send." Anything longer and the entire program locks up and has to be manually shut down via the task manager, with needless to say the mail in question refusing to go to its destination, hanging out in my "Waiting to Send" box like an insolent loafer, drinking all my pop and leaving the cap off the toothpaste. I've already had three tech support guys for breakfast. The first's advice was to restart the computer and shut down all applications running in the task manager, of which there were exactly 0...maybe he doesn't understand that applications don't show up in the manager until they are started. The second wanted me to email him my system info. Which sounds promising, until one realizes that the whole reason I contacted him is I CAN'T SEND LONG EMAILS. Brilliant.

At this point I abandoned the online chat route, which frankly is hella annoying anyway. The tech people are obsequious and pandering to the point of being embarrassing. The conversation is peppered with "I'm sorry you are having this inconvenience" and "I am sure we can get this fixed right away. Thank you so much for your patience" and "Is there anything else I can do for you, Oh Glorious AOL User? Perhaps detail your car or balance your checkbook?" I believe in being polite, but Jesus. I don't need someone licking my boots, I just want to send some freakin' email. The third guy on the phone took me through several basic and ultimately ineffective attempted solutions. I could tell his frustration was beginning to match mine when he asked, "What are you trying to send??" as if I was emailing my friend the complete text of the 9/11 Commission's findings or something (which personally, at $24 a month for crappy dial-up access, I think I should be able to if I was really so inclined). He finally mumbled something about having to check with the server people and trying again after 24 hours. Translation: "I have no idea what to tell you." Later today I will probably uninstall the software and reinstall, typically a master problem-solving technique for almost every kind of software.

I wish I could find someone to pay me $17 an hour to sit on my butt and tell people to uninstall and reinstall. I wish even more AOL would work the way it's supposed to or lower their prices accordingly. Yeah, right...
grrgoyl: (Default)
Well, here it is, my first entry on my new (to me) laptop. Of course as is everything in my life, all is not perfect. The internal modem is inexplicably fucked up but I am working on it. Guess I shouldn't complain, at such a bargain price I half expected the thing to not even turn on. But how utterly blissful to type in my journal stretched out on the couch rather than in that stinky "ass chair" as Tery and I have dubbed it.

But that isn't what I wanted to talk about. No, I have a new chapter in my quest for medical attention for my lump (I have named it "Marla" lovingly after the line in Fight Club, you know, "If I had a tumor, I would name it Marla." There are so many choice quotes in that movie I am glad I finally get to use one. Not that this is a tumor (yet) but somehow the word "lump" sounds just as ugly.)

Well against my better judgment I traveled halfway across town through rush hour traffic to the surgeon's office. I hit an unexpected snag when the receptionist asked me questions such as when and where exactly my last mammogram was performed. Now as I have been blessed most of my life with exceptional health (barring an emergency appendectomy at the age of 10 which I am told saved my life, as my useless, ungrateful appendix was on the verge of bursting) I am a miserable historian when it comes to my medical care. I am aware this makes me look like an idiot when questioned by medical personnel such as this lady, but there we are. In my defense I had attempted to look this information up when I first embarked on this foray into the world of medicine, however the few relevant papers I found regarding the procedure were only insurance documents which didn't mention the location.

So there I was, sheepishly admitting to the receptionist that I had no idea where I had my mammogram done. I will be the first to bitch about the stupidity of some customer service personnel, so in this case I absolutely have to give this lady her props...she somehow managed to track down the facility based solely on the nearest major intersection, which is all I could give her (and which, like most medical buildings in a large city, is surrounded by many other medical buildings handling different specialties. The medical industry is almost as convenient as a McDonald's drive-thru in that respect). I was duly impressed but she was too irritated to notice.

So after this unpleasantness was resolved I was brought to an examining room and told to don what I can only describe as a paper banquet napkin with armholes. It seemed less humiliating to just remain topless. After changing into this hideous garment (for lack of a better term) I got bored and took out my copy of Order of the Phoenix (yes, I am still reading it. Tery gloats that her nephew finished it in about 3 days, to which I wistfully expressed a wish for the free time of a 10-year-old.) The surgeon entered the room, glanced at it quickly, and told me what a good book it was despite its lack of a jacket with which he could identify it. I wondered if he always made such small talk to help the patient forget the ridiculous clothing they were being forced to wear. If that was what it was, it failed spectacularly.

We proceeded with the exam, which consisted of him squeezing my breasts while staring fixedly at the ceiling. This created an attitude of embarrassment that made me more uncomfortable than if he had just looked at me. I wondered as he did this if feeling women's breasts at work all day affected his sex life, if his poor wife was neglected because if he had to look at one more breast he was going to scream (yes I have strange thoughts sometimes....and the lucky readers of my journal get to hear all about them). Well, good news or bad remains to be seen, but he did find a matching Marla in the right breast. I don't know if the Planned Parenthood doctor somehow missed it or if it sprang up during the 3-day interval between visits. The surgeon speculated that since I was symmetric perhaps it was just a "normal variant," but he couldn't tell anything without a mammogram. Which is exactly what I suspected he would say back in my previous entry. He DIDN'T have a magic wand, making this visit in my view completely superfluous and a waste of my time. But if it made the grant people happy I would do it. Speaking of the grant, as I was leaving and talking to the Wonder Woman receptionist, she seemed unsure as to whether this visit would be covered by it as she thought the cutoff date was Aug 18. My life is typically ironic enough that it wouldn't surprise me if I had to pay for a visit I saw no need to go to in the first place.

But I lied. So as to make the trip more worth my while, I had also planned to visit the County DMV building which inexplicably is located well over the line into the next county. You see, when I renewed my registration and put my new sticker on my plate, I suffered a moment of confusion and put the year sticker over the month side, making both sides inaccurate. I didn't even notice it until a few days later; I was sitting on the couch, minding my own business, when it came to me out of the blue in a classic forehead-slapping moment. Tery said I should just leave it and if I got pulled over for expired plates I could explain the mistake. I didn't like this solution because with my luck I would be pulled over precisely when I was running late for work or at the worst imaginable, inconvenient time (is there ever a GOOD time to get pulled over, though?) so I wanted to get it fixed, and naturally it could only be done at the County Building, not my friendly neighborhood DMV.

The DMV lady was very nice about it and assured me people did it all the time. This made me feel a little better until I got the envelope with the new stickers home and discovered that not only had she circled the little diagram designed to help motorists avoid this error, but she had written in large red numbers on the bottom "8" on the left side and "04" on the right, just to make ABSOLUTELY SURE I knew what I was doing this time. That bitch!! I am not an idiot and there is no faster way to my bad side than to assume I am and treat me as one. Boy is she lucky she is clear on the other side of town!!!!

-=Lainey=-
grrgoyl: (Default)
So the useless computer software that I ranted about below is finally redeeming itself, it seems. After I don't even know how many attempts I finally succeeded in creating my first DVD from a VHS tape. The DVD I put together was a collection of some short films from early in Alan's career. The resultant video still looked like second (or even third) generation VHS, but I was satisfied in that it would at least maintain this quality significantly longer than it would on VHS format.

Although it was never my original intention, I thought there would be no harm in making a copy to put up for sale on eBay, to try to recoup some of the cost of the software and certainly the countless hours of my personal time wasted struggling with said software. I did so, and the bidding took off like wildfire (which was quite satisfying after I recently had to let a brand new leather jacket go for a song because I couldn't get the original price I wanted for it). I was a little skittish about copyright laws and whatnot, but as the films were taped off TV I really didn't see the difference in me selling them as opposed to how I bought the original copy of them.

The bidding closed at $51 (holy shit! said I), and then I felt generous (greedy) and offered a second copy to the runner-up bidder, whose top bid was $50 (because I am personally familiar with the heartbreak of losing by only $1). I got an email back from the runner-up thanking me for the opportunity and asking about shipping to the U.K. Which was all well and good until I noticed the fancy signature line at the bottom of the note, declaring the author a "BBC Researcher." ::::gulp:::: The BBC? The very people my little disc was copied from. I cursed my lot in life and raised my fists to the Heavens.....Why God, why? Of all people, WHY did the runner-up have to be a BBC employee????

With slightly shaky hands, I typed a response, deciding to take the blunt approach and asking, "I am a little nervous about your affiliation with the BBC. Are you planning to sue me?" Thank God she wrote back about 10 minutes later, because the suspense was absolutely killing any chance of concentrating on my work. She reassured me about the "s" word (as she put it) and explained that she was working on a film tribute to Julie Walters (who happens to be in one of the shorts with Alan, "Bathtime," very briefly) for BAFTA. For those who don't know, BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) I believe is the British equivalent of the Academy Awards people. She said she had to look at material and pick out suitable clips for the tribute, but it was very hard to find older material without paying "extortionate reproduction fees" (I just love how the English talk!) She signed off "God bless the collectors!" and I was put much more at ease. I was confused as to why the BBC needed to find private collectors when the material was originally owned by them, and my British friend Jeff explained that the BBC foolishly taped over their archives when they ran out of tape, thinking no one would ever want to see that stuff again, so now all the old episodes of shows like "Doctor Who" and "Top of the Pops" are lost forever except for what exists in personal collections. Silly, silly BBC!

Because I am so damned scrupulous I offered her the disc at a lower price, since the quality was horrid and Julie Walters was only on it for about 3 minutes, but she wasn't too concerned since the BBC was covering her expenses. I put in a good word for Alan by suggesting that maybe someday BAFTA could make a tribute to him and then she would need the rest of the material (don't worry, Alan baby....gotcha covered :::wink, wink:::) She responded that anything is possible and finished with the comment that now she knew where to come for any additional Alan Cumming footage. You heard it here first....I am now the BBC's official Alan Cumming supplier. I hope this means that an arranged meeting with him is imminent.

So we completed the transaction and I went across the street to my neighborhood Mailbox Stop to ship it off to Merry Olde. The problem with this idea was the place is being taken over by a young Asian man who has absolutely no idea what he is doing. He took one look at the address on the package and said, "Uh-oh....I don't know how to ship internationally." Okay, probably NOT the best thing to say if you want to inspire confidence in your customers. He tried to call the previous owner for instructions but she didn't answer the phone. To my dismay, he decided he would try to muddle through anyway on his own. After spending an intolerable amount of time entering all my personal information in the computer (which, a.) I have been going in there for over a year now and have never been asked for this, and b.) demonstrates the very arrogant assumption that my information needed to be stored for future visits, which, as you will see from this visit's outcome, was not at all a safe assumption to make) he finally turned his attention to the destination of the package. He recognized that the United Kingdom was the country, recognized the zip code and that London was the city, then asked me with a perfectly straight face, "Do they have states in England?" Ummmmm.....perhaps a career in the packaging and shipping industry wasn't the wisest choice, what do you think?

After an endless period of typing that would have made a travel agent proud, he finally got the address in the computer correctly (I hoped....I say this because he actually said to me, "I hope I did this right!" Again, NOT the best thing to say in front of, let alone TO, a customer) He then tried to tell me that the cheapest delivery rate he had was $25 for US Postal Air Mail. $25? Is that AMERICAN dollars? For a tiny less than 1 pound CD-sized package? When he saw the alarm on my face he tried once again to ring up the previous owner. After again having no luck, he suggested he hold my package until he could ask her about it, then he would call me back and I could return to finish the transaction. I made it clear that there was no way on God's green earth I was paying $25 to mail this tiny little package, and he said, "Well, she might know something I don't." I thought to myself, Son, I know more about this place than you do. I told him I had a better idea. I would take my package with me (and with that I swiped it out of his hands) in case they COULDN'T do better than $25 and I had to go elsewhere. As I left he promised repeatedly to definitely call me and let me know.

Well, I drove straight to the post office (where I should have gone originally, obviously, but it is a little farther out of my way than across the street) where the whole transaction took less than 5 minutes and I was charged exactly $4 for shipping. And it is a damn good thing I didn't wait on him, because it is now 32 hours later and he still hasn't called me. I have to wonder if that is because he still can't get his question answered or he realized he completely, totally, in such a major way, blew the sale.

He has no idea who he is dealing with.

>:)

-=Lainey=-

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December 2011

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