Pets and Moving

Monday, January 27, 2003
So I moved this weekend. It was very tiring. Basically Sergio and I moved all my furniture with Sandy helping out as best she could (she has a bum knee) and Jenny also "helping". Jenny's definition of helping is showing up 2 minutes before we were done, both loading and unloading the truck, and then moving a box or two. But she did a really good job moving those 2 boxes.

After moving all my crap into the new place I couldn't really rest because I had people over for the Superbowl. So I spent all day Saturday and Sunday cleaning and organizing my new place. By the time the Superbowl started I was wiped out. I fell asleep in the 3rd quarter. I didn't really miss anything, except for maybe a couple of ads. However, much like the game, I thought most of the adds were disappointing.

Bandit did not handle the move all that well. Friday night I took him to the apartment so he could preview the place before the big move. I went out to eat dinner with a few friends of mine from work, only to get a call from Sandy telling me she couldn't find him anywhere in the apartment. So rushing back like the crazed parent that I am, I went hunting for Bandit all over the place. I was especially worried because he doesn't know the area and I'm right next to a major street. Well after about 20 minutes of frantic searching, both outside in the bushes and underneath the house in the cellar, I finally found the little bugger hiding underneath the fridge. Not behind, underneath. I didn't even know there was a hole there. For most of the day Saturday and Sunday, he would just hide under things. He even went so far as hiding in his cage, which he hates. It was perhaps the saddest thing I have ever seen. I think he is still trying get used to the whole idea and moving and I think he thinks eventually we are going back to the old home.

Customer Service

Friday, January 24, 2003
I finally got my new lens from B&H photo. They didn't give me any problem with returning my own lens and I recieved my new one in a somewhat timely manner. I've bought other things from them in the past and been very satisfied with their prices and service before. I would definately reccommend them to anyone looking for photo equipment.

Speaking of customer service I've realized how important this has become to me. When I was younger, I didn't really care about customer service. As long as the store had the best price I would probably just go there. However I'll now pretty much refuse to shop anywhere where I've had a really bad customer service experience. I guess now my time is worth a lot more to me so spending 30 minutes arguing with someone over something just isn't worth my time. I think that's why I bought my car on Cars Direct . I really just hate being bothered. Sales people can just be annoying.

A few weeks ago Jenny and I went into Sears to look at Fridges. I was thinking I was going to have to buy one if I moved to the place that I was considering. All I wanted to do was look at the models and figure out my price range. I was not going to buy that day. Well a salesman came up to me and asked, "Can I help you?". I of course replied, "No, I'm just looking." Now isn't this the universal sign for, "Just leave me alone, I'm not buying"? Well sure enough, the creepy little sales guy continues to follow me around the store like we are going to try and steal something (he was right, I was planning to shove that Maytag Fridge right into my pants). To make matters worse he bothered me again by asking, "So, what price range are you looking for?" I told him I wasn't sure and then just left the store. On the grand scheme of things I know that this is pretty trivial stuff but then again .... so is this blog.

Eliminate the Dollar Bill

Wednesday, January 22, 2003
So It's my feeling that they should get rid of the $1 bill. And while they are at it they should get rid of the penny.

All this started with a conversation I had with Jenny and Sergio over the Sacagawea $1 coin. I think they should eliminate the dollar bill and move to strictly the Sacagawea or its equivalent. Why? According to the Federal Reserve a $1 bill last only 18months. This compared to a coin which can last in excess of over 25 years. Further I'm sick of my dollars not working in vending machines. As far as I know, a coin is never not straight enough to be accepted in a vending machine.

I think the ultimate reason that we should switch though is because Jenny has pledged to leave the country if we switch because her pockets would be so heavily weighed down. Is she serious? I mean, do you see the British with big, full, heavy pockets. Their bills don't even start until you get to 5 pound notes (About $8 U.S.). Canadian currency also does not start until their $5 denomination. You don't see Canadians with lugging around bags of coins hey?

As for the penny? Its a complete waste of materials and money. You can't buy anything anymore for less than a nickel so why should you mint a penny. Over 14 billion pennies are minted every year. This is over 1/2 the coins produced every year. That's over 30,000 metric tons of material. How much does it cost to produce this pile of waste, over $100 million. And for what? So people can collect truckloads of pennies? So we can all throw pennies into a well and make a wish? I've made plenty of wishes in my day, not too many of which have come true. I guess with the rate of inflation, even a wish cost more than a penny these days.

We live in such a static culture sometimes. People hold on to things like their dollar bills, the penny, old High school buildings, and refuse to enter the new world (like the Metric system, but don't even get me started on that).

Aureal Vortex and Linux

Wednesday, January 15, 2003
What I'm about to write is going to reveal me as a big nerd. However since most of you who know me well have seen through my cool exterior and unbelievably good looks I think I'll do it anyway.

As my last blog yesterday stated I have switched almost completely to Linux computers. This was not without much pain on my part though. For about the last week I've been trying to get Linux installed on my home PC correctly. So I installed Redhat 8.0 on that machine and everything was OK except one thing ... there was no friggin sound! I have a piece of crap Aureal Vortex 2. Aureal has gone out of business so there is no driver available from them. Fortunately there was a driver available at SourceForge. However it wouldn't compile. Even though I'm a fair programmer I didn't really feel like going into the source code and trying to figure it all out so I gave up on Redhat 8.0 to see if I would have more luck with Mandrake. This was fortunate anyway because I prefer KDE over Gnome (For all you non-geeks just ignore me).

So Mandrake installed and guess what ... still no sound! However during the install it did tell me exactly where I could download a driver, at SourceForge. So I downloaded it again and tried to compile. Same stupid error messages. Well after some digging I discovered that the source code relies on the fact that you have the kernel source code installed. Of course I didn't read that anywhere in the documentation (not that I ever read documentation). So I finally got sound installed and everything worked! But after all that work I wiped it out because Mandrake still has some bugs in it or something. Every time I set something in the control panel sooner or later it just gets reset without me changing anything. I got so frustrated I decided to go back to redhat. This time, since I made sure to install the Kernel source code everything went smoother ... except Redhat doesn't ship with Xine, which is the best video player ever (kicks the crap out of Windows Media Player). So I had to download that as well. Of course that was a chore in itself and it is still full of bugs... But I won't get into that since i've already lost about half my audience.

I Hate the Post Office

Friday, January 10, 2003
My blogs have turned into my ranting page but please bear with me ....

I hate the post office. Actually I don' t hate the post office as much as I do the customers that go into the post office. I went to the Monrovia post office to mail a package. Now the Monrovia post office isn't as bad as the Princeton one but it runs a close second. Every time I go there it takes me about 10-15 minutes to get out. I just can't stand people who go unprepared. They don't have their item packaged, they haven't written down the address, they need to find the address, they haven't decided in the 10 minutes before they got to the counter if they need $100 or $110 in insurance or if they really need that return receipt. How hard is it to do before you get to the counter? I think the maximum amount of time I've been at the counter is about 1.5 minutes. I ask for postage, I give my package, I'm out of the door. Its very easy.

This is not only a problem I find at the post office, it just seems much more rampant there. Other offenders are people who write check and don't fill in any information before their turn or worse don't have their ID ready to go. People who don't make up their mind at fast food restaurants while in line. People willing to wait 5 minutes on a price check to save $0.10 (I can understand if its a few dollars but $0.10?). People who insist on organizing their wallets & pockets after they paid while still in front of the register even though there are 10 people behind them thus preventing the line from moving. However the prize I think goes to people who insist on having conversations with the register person about things that have absolutely nothing to do with their purchase for at least 3 minutes after they have paid. This happened at the post office today. They were on #20. The last ticket out was probably about #40 so there were 20 people waiting in line. The guy right in front of me had about a 5 minute conversation with the lady about different wines even though all he did was mail a single envelope. So 20 people had to miss their lunches so this guy could expound on the wonders of the '93 Bordeaux or something equally inane.