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31 October, 2007

Conversations with a "real person"

Ah "Customer support" my arch-Nemesis. Sometimes you are good to me, sometimes you just plain suck. I've had both this week. An on-going issue with Blockbuster total-access was finally cleared up after getting to speak to a "real person" (my thanks to Redzeppelin). Apparently, the online customer support (which the website promotes intensely) does not have the authority to make any "account changes"! I didn't see that written anywhere on the website. Needless to say the bare minimum was done; a refund and an apology and not really much else to ensure I stay with total-crapcess.
My second run-in with "Customer Support" was with Fed-Ex today. They actually have their customer helpline on their website, bravo! And I was not held in a queue on the phone. After a few automated messages I was straight through to a person. Unfortunately, I think that we had some difficulties in communication what with my British accent, and her Spanish/Portuguese accent (sorry - I can't define it any more than that!). It almost made me flash back to the same difficulties I had with a Homeland security guard, but that's another story.

Allclick: "Yes, I wish to report that I scheduled a package for collection, and no-one came in to collect it"
Fed-Ex: "O.K. can i have the pick-up reference number?"
Allclick: "Well all I have is a tracking wasn't picked up so I don't have that."
Fed-Ex: "I need the pick-up reference number to check on your pick-up, sir"
Allclick: "The package is right here next to me. It says "tracking number". I have an email it also just says "tracking number" (believe it or not, I'm not being sarcastic at this point! :-) )
Fed-Ex: "As your package has not been picked up the tracking number will not help me."
Allclick: "It's not helping me much either."

And so on... eventually it turned out that all she needed was my zip code..then my, dimensions of the in fact I had to RE-schedule a delivery. I received a slight apology and asked how I would be paying for this. If only Fed-Ex operated some sort of "tipping" system. Speaking of which, do I need to tip the guy if when he shows up?

30 October, 2007

How to tell if a deer has been in your yard

One of my local papers (the Kanawha Valley Clipper) offers these helpful hints to help you check to see if there have been deer in your yard:
1. There may be rub marks on tress, where bucks have rubbed their antlers to mark their territory. Yes, missing bark on the tree may mean there are deer there.
2. Torn vegetation is "another telltale sign". Deer do not have incisor teeth and therefore rip the vegetation. OK, some torn leaves, probably not that easy to spot though, plus didn't you tear that whole side of the bush with that lawnmower?
3." If the damage is above 6 feet then that rules out small animals", or small kids I guess.
4. "Deer tracks, shaped like broken hearts and about 2-3 inches long". Of course! Tracks, that are made by a deer are a sure sign that a deer made them.
5. There's a deer still in your yard. (ok ok I made this one up).

Happy deer spotting!

Mobile Blogging

Ever find that you are out and about, and have the urge to blog about something? Well sometimes I do...but not a strong enough urge to actually go ahead and do it, yet still mobile blogging is now offered, you can blog directly from your cell phone. Is there any need for such technology? As a recent excellent article in the Herald-dispatch says multi-tasking and high-technology products are actually making life more difficult and wasting our time. It's well worth a read. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I'm happy just to log on on a desktop computer (how 90's of me) and type up my blog on a QWERTY.

26 October, 2007

Movie Rant - The Comebacks

Something caught my eye about this movie. We have all seen the commercials. It is usually playing on a least one commercial break an evening (why do they still call them "messages"?) and as far as spoof movies go it doesn't look too bad...does it? says:

Ouch! However, I don't rely on RT too much because sometimes reviewers intentionally make bad reviews just to stand out and try and remain aloof and eclectic. So I trot on over to
Ok, so that's fair enough. Two very popular movie review sites that are consistent, fans (only 689 of them mind you) and 24 reviewers agree that it sucks. So what the heck is THIS all about:

It made 5.5 million over the weekend. Man, it must be a slow week at the box office.

And I want it now

An obscure reference to a Queen song in my title today (bonus points if you can name the song without using google) but I found it apt when thinking about other blogs yesterday. As I was going through my usual online routine, looking at the news, other bloggers etc.. I found myself wishing that other bloggers I enjoy reading had posted something new for me to read. Something to entertain me. I am often disappointed when I load up a blog only to discover there are no new posts. Then I thought to myself "Hey, I rarely post a new blog post in the morning... I usually don't even post once a day, and usually never at the weekend, give them a break!". So that is what I am trying to bare in mind next time I'm disappointed with a lack of blog posts. Somedays I don't manage to squeeze out a blog post until late afternoon. Sometimes whilst eating lunch a revelation will occur to me worthy of a blog post. So, to all other bloggers just keep doing what you do. When you post, I appreciate it, even if I don't comment. If you don't post, I wont slash your tires. Well, not just yet ;-)

I read the news today...

The story: Marshall Community and Technical College offers new courses and degree for students.

The quote: "We are training for careers that do not even exist yet".

Like Iphone hacker? Computer chip eater? L33tology?

24 October, 2007

Did I mention I'm up to 100?

Blog posts that is (well a little over that actually now). Kinda scary that I've actually written that much! If only I could put more effort into other if i saved a dollar every time I blogged, I'd have $100 bucks to spend right now, or if I wrote a page of a paper every time I blogged I'd be finished for the year. Somehow, it's just easier to blog. Anyway, I invite all my readers (both of you) to declare your blog-post amount (if you have one) or if you don't have one, your ideal amount perhaps. do you even bother to look at the amount these days? Are you just happy to get one post out?

On another note, I hear the words "ma'am" and "sir" a lot. I also hear "Professor" sometimes too. They always stand out to me because there are some words that I just cannot bring myself to say. It's just not a part of me. I'm not being disrespectful intentionally, it's just a cultural difference. If I DID try and use these formal terms when referring to an elder I fear I would sound faked or forced and that would be worse than not using the term. Instead I try to convey my respect in the way I speak, and what subjects I talk about. Hopefully, no-one notices.

23 October, 2007

Blockbuster or Block Bust-ya

Well no-one really wants to hear about all the problems I've had with Blockbuster do they? All about how I've using Total Access and every single month it seems as if my dollar is suddenly worth less. All about how whenever you email them a complaint, it's responded to by a robot that doesn't even address the question you asked. All about how it takes almost forever for a turn around on the DVD's. No-one really wants to hear that. But I will emphasize the second aspect about the email complaints. It is beginning to become a common problem for me. You sign up for a service online and then when you have an issue you spend 10 minutes looking for contact details only to find a form online that you need to fill in to state your problem. You instantly receive an email " Thank you for submitting your comment, will be get back to you shortly" hmm ok what does that mean then? Then a couple of days later you receive something along the lines of:

"Dear First_name (yes, many times it does actually say this!)

Thank you for your recent comment. I am sorry (sure!) that you have had any difficulties with our service. We aim to blah blah. Your issue is that you should be paying us more for a service that will get progressively crappier and more expensive over time. I hope that solves your current problem, first_name.

Yours Sincerely,

Joe Bloggs"

It is obvious that it's a computer generated response. Most of the time it doesn't even remotely answer the question or will only answer one part of it, and usually it has first_name or Customer_107321 because the program screwed up. But they still stick on a name at the end (as if you can call them and ask to speak to the person) and make it seem like it's a specific response to your problem. If anyone has a solution to these computer generated emails please flow forth thy comments.

22 October, 2007

Ringo Remembers Goldfinger

My brother clued me into this little piece of gold. It's Peter Serafinowicz as Ringo Starr bringing us his theme for Goldfinger. It's probably pretty accurate.

19 October, 2007

Rocky Mountain High

Who said that normal Radio is dying out, being replaced by digital radio with no adverts and just the type of music you want to hear? Certainly not me. Well maybe it was me, but it certainly shouldn't be dying out. Where else would I get inspiration for blog posts! This time, it's John Denver. Famous for writing a certain song about a place he had never been ;-) and other hit songs. Here is one also about nature and it's splendors. The debate i have with myself about this one is was he actually talking about the high from nature:

But the Colorado rocky mountain high/

I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky/

The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye/

Rocky mountain high

Seeing an inspiring sight that kind of makes you forget yourself and the world, like the red sky of dusk. Or was he just "wired" as he would say. I like to think it's simply the first one.

18 October, 2007

Well if you feel that way...

Over the weekend I heard a familiar phrase. I'd say that in the past year I must have heard it about 15 times. Perhaps even more than that, and sometimes it's another phrase but with exactly the same sentiment. "Why the heck are you in West Virginia?". It's difficult to describe the tone, but swap the words "West Virginia" and change them to "swearing in church" and you'll probably get the correct intonation of how it is usually asked. What I say usually is "I go to school here" or "my girlfriend is here" or something that doesn't reveal too much information to a complete stranger. What I often feel like saying is "If West Virginia is so bad, what the heck are you doing here??". I really don't know why people are so tough on the state. I think it may have something to do with people always thinking that the grass is greener on the other side or the "greener grass" effect (as I'd probably label it). The truth is, you're too busy getting swept up in life to appreciate West Virginia, and looking outside of your self for blame for any of your issues. So please, stop ragging on the state and do something about it if you want change.

16 October, 2007

Hannah Montana

I guess the title is a little misleading for this post. I'm actually talking about the ticket situation for Hannah's latest tour. Apparently all the tickets where snatched up in about 3 minutes. Is this because her fans were online buying them up as soon as they could. Probably not. Over the weekend the news report said that it was online ticket touts that had bought them all. Using a sophisticated piece of software. Does this not sounds completely wrong? The original ticket price of between $20-$60 is now suddenly $200 upwards. The performer doesn't gain any of this extra money, just the ticket touting companies. It gets me pretty riled up thinking about it. I hope that Ebay and other ticket exchange websites are starting to crack down on this growing problem. I have no interest in seeing Hannah Montana, but I do have an interest in paying a fair price for a product. I think that a lot can be learnt from the Glastonbury festival in England. I believe that when you buy a ticket for the festival it is a personalized ticket, in that it has your name on it and you must show your ID when you enter the festival. I'm also fairly sure there is a maximum limit on the amount of tickets you buy. Although it is a pain if you suddenly can't attend, or forget your ID but overall it's a fairer experience all the way around and those greedy touts can't get anywhere near your hard earned dosh.

10 October, 2007

Where to find a blogger?

On a recent trip to mall (That's the Barboursville Huntington mall) I decided to visit the bookstore there. It's not really a big surprise that I would, as it's one of about 5 stores that actually hold any interest for me there. I walked in and as I glanced around the Sci-fi section (finding no Philip K Dick books, I might add) a thought crossed my mind "I wonder if there are any Bloggers in here?) A fairly irrational thought I suppose, but for some reason I assume that the bookstore is where I am most likely to run into a fellow blogger. Perhaps I should design a secret badge, or ring so that I known when I am in blogging company. My assumption probably stems from JediJawa or RedZeppelin's interest in books but it often seems like the fellow blogger is often reading a book of some kind. In a way it makes sense as to write a blog one must have an interest in words, to some degree, and presumably an interest in reading other blogs. The key word there being reading. If anyone is at the bookstore in the mall feel free to leave a note tucked into Michael Crichton's Jurassic park and let me know where you think you are most likely to find another Blogger.

of course! That was it...

Ah the art of blogging. This usually requires two skills. Observation and insight. These two are very helpful for the blogger. A sense of humour helps, being able to convey your meaning, some technology knowledge never hurts and being aware of current events are all useful too. Of course none of these means anything unless you can actually remember what you were ...erm...say in your blog. I have taken to quickly writing down ideas in a text message, or on my handy notepad to try and prevent this. Sometimes it works..and other times i'm left staring a message scribble: "Shave a cat purple monkey moonshine" and stuck trying to figure out why that was suddenly so important. A little like that episode of Seinfeld where he writes down the funny joke in the middle of the night, only to find out in the morning that he has no idea what he wrote. Thankfully, sometimes my memory is jogged and the thought and feeling of a post comes rushing back to me. Such as just now, so if you'll excuse me I'm off to write something else...before I forget.

Can you change a Million?

I read this story with some interest this week. A man tried to use a $1 million dollar bill to buy his groceries at a supermarket. I particularly like the part when he goes into a rage about it as if that was actually going to help him any. What was he doing at supermarket anyway with that kinda money? I'd at least try and buy something WORTH a a house or something. They are probably not used to seeing cash at the Realtors so maybe he could have got away with it. What made this even more interesting was that Ms. AllClick and I had debated two days previously about the existence of a $1 million dollar bill and where you could spend it! It kinda spooked me out..and it's not even Halloween yet.

09 October, 2007

Oh what a Night

I've heard this song many times before but having recently been reminded of itss greatness, in its original form I thought i'd share it with y'all. Hope it perks your morning up!

08 October, 2007

Welcome to Huntington!

It's Monday morning again and time for some blog posts. With the WV bloggers board out of action I have more time to concentrate on blogging! This may be a blessing or a curse. What is always demoralizing for me (in terms of blogging) is getting online after the weekend and realizing that the last blog post is 4 days old (ish). I should really store up some posts and then just move them from draft to posted over the weekend...or just not let it bother me so much! :-)

Today's observation is one that i've had several times really. Every single working day in fact. It's the ride into Huntington. It has to be one of the least visually appealing sights for any new visitor to the city. It kinda makes me cringe a little thinking about. Either way into the city (from the Interstate) has it's problems. Route 60 has a thousand stop lights on it, and strip bars and you have to stay on it for about 15 minutes from the Interstate. The other exit is a nicer drive in. Less stop lights, a shorter road, but there are some aesthetically-horrible, brown housing and that short road has a few serious holes in it. What usually makes me smile though is the shiny Cabell Hospital building ,(which seems to be constantly worked on) and the Robert C Byrd sign out front which seems to be a haven for the sick smokers (there's there condition that makes them sick, not my judgement of them). If I were Mr/Senator Byrd I'd be pretty ticked about it. "Get off my sign!" I'd say, "and take your drip with you!". I understand that giving up smoking is extremely difficult, but the logic of going out there to smoke escapes me. OK you're in hospital, your feeling pretty bad, so what will make you feel better? Some bed rest, or a trip out to a busy, noisy, smelly, road to breathe in some carbon monoxide and cigarette smoke. Still, at least those hospital germs won't get you out there.

04 October, 2007

TV season returns!

Well it seemed like the summer would never end. Re-run after re-run and about 100 episodes of Scrubs a week. Finally, new new programmes are here and here is what I am watching currently:

Heroes: It's the second season and so far so good! I was wondering where they would take this show. I mean it kinda wrapped up most of the story lines last season, but the developments are interesting. There is still a lot of mystery, characters haven't fully revealed themselves and there are new characters and new powers. Not sure about the whole "travelling back 500 years in time" bit but I'm willing to be a little more patient.

House: I'm not sure which season of House we are on now, especially as I missed the first seasons. We are a couple of episodes in but I'm still a little confused about the whole team of assistants thing. (POSSIBLE SPOILER) Did they all just quit? Was this explained and I missed it?? I haven't been able to stand watching any of the potential assistants so far but I liked the idea of it.

Journeyman: OK. Now I KNOW which season this is on. Number 1....right? A new show that so far has really caught my attention. I was pretty sceptical to begin with, I mean it's just Quantum Leap right? Well yes and no. Yes, it is about traveling back in time and 'fixing' someone a moment in someone else's life and yes, it is more about the drama, interaction and characters than it is about the sci-fi aspect. No, there is no real explanation for the time traveling, he seems to have a fellow time-traveller with him (who is slightly hotter than Al and Ziggy) and no, he actually returns to the present which adds another dimension to the show. He has to try and juggle his time travelling with keeping a "normal" life with his wife and kids. Emotionally engaging and a bit sci-fiy. Great stuff.

02 October, 2007

Time for a rant...

Well, you may have seen my previous post about the water situation in Hurricane. It's getting pretty bad. In fact, it is so bad now that there are "trucking in water". I'm not sure if this is a turn of phrase or actual trucks but either way it's an apparent justification to raise water prices. Again. I'm pretty annoyed about it. In fact thinking about it too long just makes me feel sick inside. I mean it sounds reasonable. There is no water in the reservoir and so more must be brought in which is going to cost more money. What really gets me is that they must have known for at least 3 months that this was going to happen. The reservoir has looked pretty empty for a while now but there has been no water bans. I think I first heard about one last weekend and I'm not even entirely sure what the ban was on! I've still seen people out washing there cars and plants with hoses. A water ban would have helped the reservoir and kept resident's water bills lower. The other thing that gets me is the lack of preparation for the water running out. It seems like they waited to the last minute to find a solution and the solution is: Raise prices. They should have made preparations months ago using the money they already have, not jack up the price at the last minute because they failed to act. I can feel a sense a strongly worded letter heading towards the Hurricane council members, and while I write it I'll be dancing for the rain to come.