Thursday, April 28, 2005

Ingenuity

Remember this in case you're ever trapped in the woods with just a coke and a chocolate bar.

Remember this in case gas prices keep going up. It might not seem so feasible for now...


The first one I actually really want to try. My next free weekend I'm testing it out for myself!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Status/How I hate SBC

There has been a clamor of people wanting updates to the blog, but I'll be honest, I just haven't really found anything blog-worthy recently. I think particularly because we've been centered on finding a car, but still haven't found anything in our price range. I detest indecision and not being able to move forward, so I find this fairly frustrating and don't really want to blog anything about that.

I do have one rant. That is spelled S-B-C. How does their website site suck? Let me count the ways.

1) I can't register on the site via Firefox. I have to use satan-spawned IE. This angers me from the start.
2) Their stupid stone-age technology kept telling me I was adding orders that were only accessible in Arkansas, which was completely untrue.
2B) Even if that had been true, why would it have let me access Arkansas-only options when the first thing I did was say I lived in Texas? GRRRRRRR.
3) Now we get to the good stuff! The first time I complete my order, I press submit and it goes back to the start page. I assume everything is normal. My wife calls a couple days later, before the actual installation day, to see if she can get the phone number we will be granted (I had forgotten to copy it down) so that she can put that on her resume. They don't even have a record of my request!!!!
3b) They keep asking for a confirmation number. Nobody gave me a confirmation number. It is not MY responsibility to know how your idiotic website is supposed to work. I have no idea whether you are supposed to give me one or not, so not getting one didn't mean anything to me!
4) I resubmit. THE SAME THING HAPPENS AGAIN. This time I have printed off all my info and I CALL TO CONFIRM THE ORDER. For some reason it does not show up via my social, but the customer service rep searches on our address, finds the order and confirms it with me. Even mentions the correct amount we are to be charged. So, everything's good right?
5) WRONG. The day service is supposed to start rolls around. NO SERVICE. I AM PISSED. ANGRY CALLS ARE MADE TO SBC. They dilly-dally around until yesterday to respond.
6) They finally claim to fix the ridiculous situation three+ weeks after my original attempt to start service, but offer NO form of compensation. They do not waive my startup fee, nor do they give us a speedier connect date (which is a joke anyway, what exactly do they have to do? Flip a switch in some office? "I'm sorry, we can't do that until Thursday and that will be $53. Thank you!") They do manage to explain to me as if I am a moron the process their website should have gone through, and which without I should have known something was wrong. "You will always receive an e-mail within 48 hours confirming your order" OH REALLY? I SORT OF THOUGHT ME CALLING IN AND CONFIRMING IT WITH A LIVE PERSON MIGHT COUNT FOR SOMETHING. Control was really starting to be an issue at this point, and especially as I was dealing with this call at the office, I decided to just get off the phone as quickly as possible. I hate SBC, more than I ever detested Roseville Telephone. If we do not actually have phone service on Thursday, I shudder to think what life will be like for the poor support person that answers my call. Is it bad that I think I might be starting to look forward to that?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Restaurant poll

Where would you rather eat?
Current results

CAPITALISM'S BOIL

Yahoo! News - CAPITALISM'S BOIL: "'The trouble with socialism is socialism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists.'"

Excellent article! When did it become ok for CEOs of companies that are failing badly to receive raises and ridiculous levels of compensation? It is an outrage and it gives ammunition to the many enemies of freedom.

It just gives me further respect for the leaders of corporations who only take $1 a year in direct compensation (Jobs at Apple, the Google guys) and the rest of how they do is dependent on their stock options. In other words, if they make the company successful, they are rewarded via higher stock prices. If they don't, they suffer. That is leadership! I believe Chambers did the same thing at Cisco during the tech bust; he only took $1/yr until they returned to profitability. Let it be understood, I have no problem with a CEO making seemingly ridiculous amounts of money, provided his company is ridiculously profitable. However, when a CEO is making huge bonuses for terrible performance and employees are being laid off while the CEO enjoys ludicrous excess, that causes my blood to boil and gives capitalism a black eye.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Car Update

We test drove cars at CarMax today. Looks like the Camry is the big winner. I just didn't like the feel of the Altima as much, although I definitely like its styling better. As the salesman pointed out, we might just like the feel of the Camry because it's what we're used to from driving our Highlander, which is on a Camry chassis. We also tried a Corolla, which was WAY too small. Many of you probably recall that I drove a '95 Corolla for years, so I don't know whether that particular year fit me better, or whether I was just poor when I bought it so I didn't care and just got used to it, or what. We all know I am actually much smaller now, so it's not my size affecting the issue! Anyway, I guess I am now used to bigger, more comfortable cars, so the Camry beat the Corolla hands down, even though we give up some gas mileage there. It's worth it. The Camry also has decent power, similar to the Altima (2.4 liter 4 cyl. vs 2.5 L) and slightly better gas mileage (something like 23/33 vs 23/29)

The drawback is that I've discovered side airbags are not standard on the Camry either, I must have been looking at a high-end model or something when I saw that. So, our search continues. Further updates as events warrant.

Also, we pretty much decided that neither one of us was that interested in the Accord, so we just axed it from consideration.

Lastly, a big thank you goes out to everyone who gave sincere feedback (i.e. not Weaver and JP) to my poll question as to what car to buy.

Friday, April 15, 2005

PETA not welcome here

The Brownsville Herald - Online Edition: "“As far as I’m concerned, they are terrorists. I’m trying to make a living and they are trying to stop my people from making a living,” he said just before cranking the water system at full blast, showering the protesters.

Very few news stories can actually make me laugh, but this one did. I think we all might realize that PETA is barking up the wrong tree to be doing protests in rural Texas. However, when the whole basis of your campaign is to make sure chickens are killed humanely, I guess we can't hope for a lot of common sense to be present. I mean, come on, this chicken is going to die so that I can EAT it. I don't really care whether or not it dies by having its head chopped off, being gassed, or lethal injection. If I cared that much about chickens, I WOULDN'T BE EATING CHICKEN AT ALL. Since KFC's whole business is selling chicken to people to eat, I think most of their target audience feels the same way and KFC should continue to tell PETA to take a hike.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

New Car

Well, due to the totalling of our Jetta described earlier, we are now in the market for a car. We're looking to stay in the range of our insurance settlement (i.e. a used car). Thus far I'm considering 2002ish Toyota Camrys, Nissan Altimas, and Honda Accords. Let me know which one you like best and why, especially if you pick the other category in the poll.

What I'm looking for (in rough order of importance)
1) Cost: $12-13k
2) Good gas milage (low twenties city/high twenties hwy minimum)
3) Safety - a big concern for my wife since her accident
4) reliability
5) miles driven
plus other intangibles. For example, I don't want a white car.

Which car should we buy?

Current results

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Are they fools????

I do have to give credit for the honesty, however, but not for the sloooooow reply. Also, note that they have a FRESH Mexican concept. The fact that they capitalized that in their reply I find hilarious.

Dear XXXXXXX,

Thank you for your interest in Baja Fresh.It is always a pleasure to receive feedback from our customers, and we're so happy to hear that you enjoy our FRESH Mexican concept. At this time we de not have plans to open in the North Dallas suburbs of Frisco and McKinney. We do appreciate your suggestion, and a copy of your message has been forwarded to our Real Estate Executives for their review. If you would you like to receive Fresh News and Promotional Offers via email from Baja Fresh, please click on the following link to access our online registration form:
http://www.bajafresh.com/offers
Regards,

Customer Relations Specialist
Baja Fresh(r) Mexican Grill

-----Original Message-----
Contact: XXXX XXXXXXX
EMail:
Location: WE DON'T HAVE ONE
Date of Visit: 04/01/2005
Time of Visit: never
Message: We desperately need a Baja Fresh in the North Dallas suburbs of Frisco and McKinney. There are huge subdivisions in these areas that would appreciate your quick, tasty Mexican food. Additionally, these areas include many transplants from outside of Texas (myself included) already familiar with your fine product and eager to have it within easy driving distance of their homes.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Welcome to Texas!

My wife was sick with a high fever for our first week in Texas, and then yesterday she got in a wreck that appears to have totaled her car. Fortunately, we did manage to celebrate her birthday in between those two things by having a very nice dinner at Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas on Friday.

Anyway, although I have long hated her white Jetta (because a) I believe it is a chick car and b) it needs to have minor things repaired all the time and c) these insignificant fixes cost an arm and a leg as if the Jetta were actually a luxury car), it appears to have really done its job protecting her. She got t-boned on the passenger side of the car by a Suburban. With my total lack of knowledge of cars, it looks like the frame might have been bent. You can't close the driver's side door from the hit on the passenger side. The door on the passenger side got pushed into the seat, so it is fortunate nobody was riding with her.

She herself is fine, other than scrapes and bruises, particularly from the seatbelt. I was at work in a meeting when this happened, so I returned to find a message on my voice-mail from a woman who was just passing by and saw it happen. Her cell was breaking up, so about all I got was "This is...(garbled name)...your wife...(garbled)... accident...(garbled)... Call me" and then her number, which mercifully came through completely clearly. So I called her, now quite concerned, due not only to the message, but also worried that my wife couldn't have just called me herself from our cell phone. This very kind lady, whose name I still don't know, actually had to track me down because my wife doesn't yet know my work number, only that I work for HP, then gave me the even more alarming info that the car was totaled and they were taking my wife to the hospital, but she seems ok. Not knowing what to expect, I race off to the only hospital I know of in McKinney. When I get there, I see her on the backboard thing with her head immobilized and she is covered in glass! Not super-reassuring. But it turns out that was all precautionary and she is basically ok. She hadn't called me on our cell because she had forgotten it at home. Whew! Well, there is more to the story, but that is all I feel like typing for now.

Unfortunately, we are now down to one car again and will have to go out shopping for a new one. That we could REALLY have done without right now, but we have to focus on how much of a blessing it is that she isn't hurt.

Friday, April 01, 2005

More Nerdery

Forget Me Not - How to win the U.S. memory championship. By Joshua Foer

I've been fascinated by the nerdy stories recently.

Jet Blue Too

In my continuing efforts to bring good companies to Dallas so I don't have to live without them, I also have requested that JetBlue offer some flights into and out of Dallas. Their response was a little less encouraging than In-N-Out's.

Hello,

Thank you for your email regarding new routes in Texas.

We appreciate your interest in Dallas as a future JetBlue destination. As a growing airline, JetBlue is continuously evaluating new cities to serve where our low fares and high quality service will be well received.

Please stay tuned to our website www.jetblue.com for updates!

Sincerely,

Ray
Customer Commitment Crew
JetBlue Airways
Crewmember 26635

Original Message Follows:
------------------------
Customer name:
Customer Phone Number: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Message:
We need JetBlue in Dallas! Any plans to expand routes to include DFW?

That's pretty much a brush off.