Friday, August 27, 2004


My sister e-mailed me just the other day and told me that she was looking through my movies. She said that she liked them, but that I needed less planes, and more kids. Just for you sis, here's and oldie but a goodie. It's of Breanna at age 3 trying to play baseball. I think you'll enjoy it:

Life Stereotyping

You may remember our family's recent obsession with board games. We may be playing the wrong ones.

My daughter has grown fond of the police officer career in the Game of Life. That is all she wants to be and she usually gets it too. Recently, her and my father-in-law, who happens to be an ex-police officer himself, were at a doughnut shop, when she turns to him and says:

Breanna: I want to be a police officer when I grow up?
F-I-L:Really, that's great, why?
Breanna: Because then I can eat all the doughnuts I want.

This is one stereotype that you can be sure that my daughter has not picked up from me or Marcy. Let's look at the game of Life a little closer though shall we? On the card, there is a picture of two police officers, one of them eating, pause for tension, you guessed it, a powdered doughnut. But as if that's not bad enough, the player who gets to be the police officer in the game, and the main reason Breanna likes to be the police officer, collects $10,000 from a player every time that player spins a 10 for "speeding". So this is the perception my daughter now has of police officers. They eat a lot of doughnuts and they take bribes from people who speed. Great. Thanks Milton Bradley.

Friday Update

A quick update for you, my friends, on this day. A day I can look forward to endless number crunching, yet again. But there's light at the end of this tunnel that I call today. The budget will be completed by the end of this day, and the people will rejoice. Well, at least for the next two weeks, until corporate comes out to review (scrutinize) our budget.

GMail: It appears as though they didn't just give me one invite this time...I now have 5 more to give away. Let me know if you want one by writing an essay, not to exceed 10,000 words, on your need for a GMail account. Or you could just say, Hey....give me one.

Fantasy Football: I still need more teams. What are you waiting for. It's fun and free. Where else can you have fun for free. Sign up today and I'll set up the draft to auto-pick this weekend. Go to the game front page, click the "Sign Up Now" or "Get Another Team" button and follow the links to "Join a Custom League". When prompted, enter the League ID# (367921) and password (bmg).

School: Next week my kids start school again, and so do I. I've got three classes on my schedule this semester, which should keep me busy, one of them is completely on-line at least.

Smoking: Still not doing it. It's officially been 27 days, 5 hours, 36 minutes and 17 seconds since Marcy or I have had one. It's been over a month since we've bought a pack. Days like I've had this week make me wish I still did smoke at times. Not becuase I crave the cigarette, I haven't craved it for two weeks now, but because it gave me an excuse to take a break. I had to. Now, at least this week, I crunch numbers into this budget that we're preparing all day long, without even realizing what time it is.

Tomorrow: We're taking Michael (and the whole family) rafting for his birthday, which is next week. I'd love to get some pictures of the even and post them up for all to see, but I think I'll be leaving the camera behind for this one. Without this, I don't feel like taking the chance of dropping it in the river. Maybe I'll pick up a disposable one, you know one of those things with that stuff they called film, to record the event.

Well, I think that's it. Have a nice Friday and a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


I don't know if anybody is reading Spamusement!, but you should be. The site owner decided to do drawings based on the subject lines of the spam e-mails he receives every day. The last two days have actually made me laugh out loud, causing me to look around to see if anyone heard me.

Here's a sample, but make sure you go read Spamusement! every day:

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Tuesday is Chooseday

Without being able to mentally function yet this morning, I bring you:

tuesday is chooseday
Would you rather:
  1. lose your keys OR your wallet?
  2. I'm gonna have to go with my keys on this one...I can always get another one from a locksmith, but I can't have the mint remake any cash that is lost.

  3. run your fingers down a chalkboard 15 times in a row OR lick ten feet of sidewalk?
  4. I'm a semi-germaphobe so even though I hate the chalkboard, I'll have to choose it here.

  5. referee a WWE wrestling cage match OR get in a fist fight with your mother-in-law?
  6. Are you kidding me? My M-I-L is a Libra like me...we'd try to talk each other out of it.

  7. be the inspiration for the movie "deliverance" OR the movie "gigli"?
  8. Depends on which character in deliverence...Ok so I can't relate to any of them...I guess I'll have to go with (face contorted in pain) gigli.

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I have another GMail invite to give away if anyone would like to try it. I think I'll give it to the first person who comments with one really good reason why I should give it to them.

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Monday, August 23, 2004

False Accusations

I don't often get political here, but every once in a great while something happens that throws me into a fit of rage and makes it hard for me not to comment. The New York Times has recently researched and documented the truth about the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth". Who gave them their funding at this most opportune moment to speak out? You might be surprised. Why do their claims lie against what they have said in the past, and what the records prove? Will the TV watching public who has seen the commercial of these four individuals debunking Senator Kerry as a presidential candidate ever see this information? Hell no. An accusation gets so much more air time than does the truth.

This is the dirtiest presidential campaign I can ever remember, but the lies told are so blatant, I'm shocked that the incumbent candidate still has as much support as he does. It's because of things like this TV commercial and book written by the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" that he still has the support of the general public, and everything about their campaign is false. Don't take my word for it, though. Research it for yourself:

The New York Times > Connection and Contradications

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Sunday, August 22, 2004

What Did You Do On Your Saturday Night?

I don't know if it's a testament to my turning 30 in a little over a month now or what, but our Saturday nights used to consist of going out, drinking, dancing, singing, raising hell, coming home well after 3 or 4 and generally doing things no human beings should do to their livers. Last night, however, wrapped up something like this:

  • Eating a nice dinner at home (barbecued tri-tip sandwiches, my favorite right now).

  • Sharing a bottle of one of my favorite wines with my favorite person in the world, while playing the game of life.

  • Sitting down with my favorite desert, creme brulee, while sipping my favorite coffee, Texas Turtle, and watching a movie.

Not the type of fun I'm used to, but I could not have felt more relaxed. How'd you spend your Saturday night?

Disclaimer: This does not in any way limit our ability to participate in the aforementioned activities at a later date if we are so inclined to do so.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Overheard at Lunch

Marcy, Breanna and I went to Applebee's for lunch and we were treated to a testament of the quality of education here. Four women were seated at the table behind me. Two of the women were probably in their thirties, while the other two were high school girls. Their conversation sounded something like this.

High School Girl: I'm taking spanish this year.
Woman: That's great, I took spanish, and I was so glad I did. To this day I can still read spanish.
HSG: You can?
Woman: Yeah, well I can't translate what the words mean, but I can pronounce them correctly.

Now that's impressive. I wish I could do that.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Browse Happy

Those of you who know me, or have been reading for a little while now, know that I recently made the jump from IE to Firefox. I made some comments one day and the people at The Web Standards Project caught wind of those comments. I was contacted by them because they were starting a website about the switch from IE and they wanted to know if they could interview me. I obliged with the interview and their site is now live.

The site is called Browse Happy, and it's purpose is to make people aware of the security risks involved with using Internet Explorer. Go ahead and read my interview with them, and then browse around the site. The information there is definately worth your time to read and act on if you haven't already made the switch. So go, be well, and browse happy.

The Well Is Dry

Well, It's finally Friday, and I'm really feeling uninspired today. Today is one of those days I really, really wish I had a 4-day work week. I could use another 13 hours of sleep, roughly. So instead of boring anyone with my own incessant uncoherent blather about one thing or another today, I'll let other people bore you instead.

Buzz needs your help. He's lost his jeans and now he can't work on his car..or something like that, I wasn't really paying attention.

WTHWI is here for us. Use his experiences while you can. He's committed a proverbial sin, make sure you don't do the same.

TJ pointed out that if one wants to be insulted, one can be by the computer nowadays. What will they think of next...BTW, I can now be known as Hummingbirdwhacker Paraplegickicker. What are you?

btezra has entered some kind of contest in which he had to submit a picture that was taken with something he called film...I'm not too sure what he's taking about, but maybe you can help him out and vote for his picture.

Finally, some guy named Mike wants you to join his fantasy football league. He sounded pretty desperate if you ask me, but I guess he has 6 teams in the league, but they need at least 10, or something like that.

If you still bored, go check out some of the links I put up in my sidebar last night. Ok, I think it's time I go get ready for work, so have a good, safe friday. Take it easy today, I wouldn't want anyone hurt before the weekend.

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Thursday, August 19, 2004

One World

I woke up this morning with a song stuck in my head that I think applies a hell of a lot more today than it did back in 1987, when it was released and I was listening to it. I have no idea what caused me to have this song, a song which I haven't even thought of, probably since high school, on my mind, but I figured I'd share it with you. It's as good a song today, if not better, than it was in 1987. I put a sample of the song here:

Anthrax - One World (sample)

Yes, it's Anthrax, and the guitars may be a little rough for some of you, but read the lyrics and I think you'll agree. Replace one word in the song and it definitely could have been written present time.

Stop it!
There's been too much debate
We could save ourselves from Holocaust
Or is that just our fate
Start now
But we continue to balk
We let the genie out of the bottle
But we still hold the cork

One, Two - NOT! Three, Four - DIE!
One, Two - NOT! Three, Four - DIE!

Ignorance, is no excuse
For violence

ONE WORLD! - Welcome to it
ONE WORLD! - Don't abuse it
ONE WORLD! - To live out your life
ONE WORLD! - Total schism
Tunnel vision.
ONE WORLD - Taming the beast
Fighting for peace

You pushed a button, that's all you did
It's much harder to kill a man
If you've seen pictures of his kids
And what are all our lives worth?
What kind of sentence would you serve
For killing the earth







They're only people like us
Do you really think they'd blow up the world
They don't love their lives less
Stop singing hail to the chief
Instead of thinking S.D.I.
He should be thinking of peace





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Bored Games

Do you think board games got named that way because they are games that are played on a board, or games played while people are bored?

Lately, Marcy and I have had a lot of extra time on our hands. Since it has been almost a month, the desire and need for a cigarette is no longer there, but a need to fill our time is. On Saturday we rediscovered our fondness of board games, so Marcy went out yesterday to pick up a few more for us all to play. She got The Game of Life and Tri-Ominoes, two classics that I've never played, before last night that is. Now I've played them both.

If anybody is interested, here's how the night panned out. With the boys at their dad's house, Marcy, Breanna and I started with a game of tri-ominoes, which Breanna won. Then we played The Game of Life, which Breanna won. Then we took a break to eat some dinner. After dinner we played another game of Life, this time adding Mary Jane, which Breanna won. Finally we finished with a game of tri-ominoes, which we didn't let Breanna play. Yes I'm serious. Ok, if she wanted to play, we probably would have let her, but the ego can only take being beaten by a 6 year old so many times. I don't know how many that is, but 3 times in a row is way beyond that threshold. I just hope for her sake, that she does as well in life as she did in the game version.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Word of the Day

Word of the Day for Wednesday August 18, 2004

Cockaigne \kah-KAYN\, noun:

An imaginary land of ease and luxury.

Why does this word sound so familiar? Do you think it's just peculiar coincidence, or was the drug named to sound like this word? Oddly enough, they're complete opposites of each other. I almost expected to see the drug's name in the list of antonyms for this word.

Strange Positions

For all those that don't know, we have 3 pets, 2 cats and a bunny. As I've stated here before, one of our cats is, well, let's just say she plays cards, she just doesn't play with a full deck. She likes to get herself into strange positions. Positions that she can not get out of by herself. I have found her on top of cupboards in the kitchen, stuck by the water heater in the garage, stuck on top of the storage cabinets in the garage, even stuck on top of the garage door when it was open. Yesterday morning took the cake, though. This time she left evidence.

As I left my bedroom, heading downstairs, yesterday morning, I heard a strange clicking noise in the darkness. Once my eyes focused, I realised what the sound was. Jezebel, that's the cat's name, was hanging from the bannister at the top of the stairs. I don't quite know how long she had been there, but she was lucky I came along when I did, else she would have been testing the theory that cats always land on their feet. She's just lucky I'm not mean enough to go grab my camera first.

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Last Chance to Dance

If you haven't signed up for your FREE fantasy football team yet, giving you the ability to go head to head with me and a few other bmg readers, what are you waiting for? Tomorrow I'll be turning the league public so that I can get other teams in and draft by this weekend. Go get yours today:

In order to join the league, just go to game front page, click the "Sign Up Now" or "Get Another Team" button and follow the links to "Join a Custom League". When prompted, enter the League ID# and password below.

League ID#: 367921
Password: bmg

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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

A Good Idea?

Or are these people the new ambulance chasers? Gmail Trademark in Dispute

It appears as though the day Google made their Beta Test of GMail, which I use and love, public, four smaller companies hurried to file patents for the GMail trademark. Will Google have to pay them to be able to use their own brand? Only time will tell, but it sure seems like a bunch of ambulance chasing to me.

Maybe I will start a service in which I will file trademarks before big companies can when they make a product or come out with a service. Then I'll sell the rights, for a "nominal" fee, to a company who can, in turn, get huge bucks from the originating companies, so they may be able to market and sell said product or service. I'll call it Oops, maybe I shouldn't have posted that. Ok, if I can direct you over here to sign this non-disclosure agreement....

A Good Idea?

Or are these people the new ambulance chasers? Gmail Trademark in Dispute

It appears as though the day Google made their Beta Test of GMail, which I use and love, public, four smaller companies hurried to file patents for the GMail trademark. Will Google have to pay them to be able to use their own brand? Only time will tell, but it sure seems like a bunch of ambulance chasing to me.

Maybe I will start a service in which I will file trademarks before big companies can when they make a product or come out with a service. Then I'll sell the rights, for a "nominal" fee, to a company who can, in turn, get huge bucks from the originating companies, so they may be able to market and sell said product or service. I'll call it Oops, maybe I shouldn't have posted that. Ok, if I can direct you over here to sign this non-disclosure agreement....

Know It All

I've finally taken notice. This is something my parents felt for years, and now I'm feeling myself. My kids think I'm stupid. At 12, 10 & 6, they know it all and I know nothing. The 12 year old is actually the best when it comes to accepting something that I say as the truth, but at 10 & 6 the younger two look at me when I explain something and know that I'm wrong and they're right. I know I'm not alone in this. Marcy has expressed feeling the same way. TJ brought it up in a post on his site yesterday. My parents used to tell me in bouts of frustration, "Fine, you do want you know it all anyway". I think I may have an idea why.

When children are born, grown adults, some who have college education and beyond, become bumbling idiots. We talk to these babies, and we say things like "Wouljoo look at the baby" or , "is you de baby", or even better, "dijoo do da poopoo". Then there's my personal favorite, "da do de ba ba bee be". Their first impression of us is that we are morons, incapable of normal speech.

A little bit later in their life we started testing their reasoning and thinking skills by making false statements to see what they say. They may tell us that the grass is green, to which we may reply that it is not green, but purple, just to see what they will say. Or we'll tell them things like, don't make faces, your face could freeze that way, or that if they play with their belly buttons that it might come untied.

As they get a little older, they find out about things like the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, and someone else who I won't mention here. The reasoning skills that we've given them turn against us, and they know that we've been telling all these lies throughout the years, and yet, they are just supposed to believe us now? Would you believe someone who consistently lied to you?

Don't get me wrong, I still think that the greater good here is letting their imaginations develop through all of the before mentioned parenting tools. Have you ever met a child whose parents were always honest about everything with them? They have no imagination and usually no sense of humor. So where is the happy medium here? How do we teach our children to think independently, without making ourselves out to look like raving lunatics in their eyes? Is this to deep of a subject for a Tuesday? Can I ask anymore questions?

My Stats:
Time Smoke-Free: 17 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes and 29 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 173
Lifetime Saved: 1 day, 7 hours
Money Saved: $31.77

Monday, August 16, 2004

Family Day

Ever since Marcy started her job at Pier 1 a couple of months ago, she has worked almost every weekend day. She finally got a day off on Saturday, so we decided to make the most of it by implementing, insert touchy-feely cheesy song of your choice here, "Family Day". Looking for something to do, Breanna, after watching "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory", suggested we go to a chocolate factory. It just so happens that there is a chocolate factory only 40 minutes away from us, so that's what we planned on doing.

When we got there, we realized that some things have changed about the way we live in this country. Not being able to go on the tour, we bought some chocolate from the visitor's center and headed down the road to Knights Ferry for some geocaching and general tourist fun.

As always, and I'm beginning to suspect much to the boys' chagrin, our camera followed us along on our journey. I posted the picture album for all to enjoy. We finished off our day at home with a round of Disney Guess Words at home that night. All in all, closed tours notwithstanding, our first officially proclaimed "Family Day" went very well. We even got an idea of what we will be doing for Michael's Birthday. I will need something before that though, hint, hint.

My Stats:
Time Smoke-Free: 16 days, 6 hours, 17 minutes and 45 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 163
Lifetime Saved: 1 day, 5 hours
Money Saved: $30.00

Coming To A Toy Box Near You

Said to be this year's Christmas must have, The Singing Hand Puppets are sweeping the nation. In an unrelated story, the sales of aspirin have also climbed dramatically in the release area of The Singing Hand Puppets. We go live to Marcy who's in the field speaking with one right now:

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Friday, August 13, 2004

A Survey

Found this here.

I never do these, so just for kicks I decided to do one today.

The \\
Last Cigarette:7/30/2004 11:45:00 PM
Last Alcoholic Drink:8/7/04
Last Car Ride:This morning to work
Last Kiss:This morning before leaving for work
Last Good Cry:?????
Last Library Book:Don't go to the library
Last book bought:The Da Vinci Code
Last Book Read:Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
Last Movie Seen in Theatres:Harry Potter 3???
Last Movie Rented:Can't Remember, it's been about a year
Last Cuss Word Uttered:damnit
Last Beverage Drank:Diet Pepsi Vanilla
Last Food Consumed:Macaroni & Cheese (Quit laughing)
Last Crush:Current crush (wife)
Last Phone Call:wife (5 minutes ago)
Last TV Show Watched:Inside The Jury Room
Last Time Showered:06:15 AM this morning
Last Shoes Worn:Doc Marten work boots
Last CD Played:Breaking Benjamins We Are Not Alone
Last Item Bought:Soda
Last Download:Mozilla Firefox
Last Annoyance:sssshhhhh
Last Disappointment:I'm pretty hard to disappoint.....
Last Soda Drank:Diet Pepsi Vanilla, wasn't that covered already?
Last Thing Written:wasn't that covered already?
Last Key Used:?
Last Words Spoken:Love you too, bye.
Last Sleep:woke up at 4:45 AM
Last Ice Cream Eaten:It's-It
Last Chair Sat In:Currently in office chair
Last Webpage


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Vote For Me

We interrupt this program to bring you a special bulletin.

Alright people, this is a serious matter now. I need your votes. What do you have to do?

1. Go here: Photo Friday: Link Viewer
2. Scroll down and click on #252: Mike
3. Click on "Cast Noteworthy Vote"

That is all, we now return you to your normal broadcast day.

They Can Have It

Commuting is a way of life where we live. The price of housing is cheaper out here in the Central Valley than it is in the Bay Area, but the best paying jobs are still in the Bay Area. People literally drive for hours a day back and forth to work to save money on the cost of housing, yet still benefit from the high paying jobs that can be found over there. I myself had some experience with this phenomenon for the first two years I lived here in the Central Valley. I worked in the first city going into what is called the East Bay. The commute was not that bad, but it would still take me 40 minutes to an hour to get home on some days, and I only had to go 16 miles. I know people who drive 90 minutes to 2 hours each way to work and back.

Since then, I have gotten jobs that are here in the Valley, against the flow of traffic from where we live. Now the job that is 15 miles away, only takes me 20 minutes to get there, 30 minutes at most. I figure that with what I am currently earning, my time is worth the little bit less of a salary. This is time spent with my wife and kids, instead of stuck in gridlock, fighting with the masses to get to work and back every day. Every once in awhile, I get the chance to remind myself that I am doing the right thing.

Last night, I had to take Bobby to San Francisco Airport. We didn't leave until 7:00, which should have let me miss rush hour coming back. As it turned out, Bobby ended up coming back with me, and we hit the gridlock at 9:00. 9 PM and traffic was still stop and go. I don't know how the masses deal with that on a daily basis, without completely going insane, but more power to them, they can have it. The experience does leave me with a renewed feeling that I am lucky to be working where I am, and not have to deal with that commute every day. How far do you have to go to make your living?

My Stats:
Time Smoke-Free: 13 days, 6 hours, 1 minute and 39 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 133
Lifetime Saved: 1 Day
Money Saved: $24.71

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Fantasy Football

Hey all you football fans out there, and all you non-football fans too. I just started a free fantasy football league over at Yahoo! So if you want to take a shot at beating me in this meaningless contest and have the right to belittle me and call me names, read on:

In order to join the league, just go to game front page, click the "Sign Up Now" or "Get Another Team" button and follow the links to "Join a Custom League". When prompted, enter the League ID# and password below.

League ID#: 367921
Password: bmg

I usually enter a team into a league full of people I don't know, and we talk much smack to each other. But I'd much rather take on you fine people, my family, my friends, my readers, the people who I truly care about, and talk smack to you. Even if you don't know that much, or are not that interested in football, I've set up this league to be fun. You don't even have to pick your team, because the draft is randomized. I've got plenty of teams open, so follow the instructions above, or leave me a comment and I'll send you instructions. See ya on the field.

New Music

Last week, Wamajama begged the question, do we like to listen to new music, or are we satisfied listening to what we grew up with. When I was growing up, it always seemed like the adults I knew listened to their music, and my friends and I listened to our music. I always figured that there would be a day when new music either didn't make sense to me, or I would simply not like new music anymore and settle down with the music of "my day". In two months I am going to enter the 3rd decade of my life, and I haven't hit that point yet. In fact, I listen to some of the same music that my 12-year old listens to. What can I say, the boy has taste.

I find it hard to not listen for new music, when bands like Breaking Benjamin are out there that produce a cd like Saturate, that is so good, it was instantly one of my all time favorites, start to finish, a couple of years ago. Now usually when a band has a instant hit with their first cd, ahem, 3rd Eye Blind, their second work is usually nowhere close to as good. I just heard Breaking Benjamin's follow up, We Are Not Alone, and amazingly, it may just be better than the first.

So tell me, what do you listen to? Are you listening to what you "grew up" with, or do you still have your ear to the floor listening for new stuff?

Oh and by the way, just in case you were worried that I may have slipped this past weekend, My Stats:

Time Smoke-Free: 10 days, 6 hours, 1 minute and 4 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 103
Lifetime Saved: 18 hours
Money Saved: $19.41
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Monday, August 09, 2004

You've Got GMail

For the past month or so, I've had a GMail account. What is Gmail? GMail is google's attempt at making email better and easier. GMail is free, like Yahoo! or Hotmail, but unlike Yahoo! or Hotmail you get 1 GB of storage space and can send and receive attachments up to 10 MBs. Sound pretty cool? It is. It's the best web based email account I have ever had, and as Marcy will be able to tell you, I've had my share. Where can you get yours? That's a little bit trickier. Google is only releasing so much server space at a time, as to not bog down their new service with everyone signing up at once. So what they do is let their current users invite people they know, one or two at a time.

Why am I bringing this up if you can't freely sign up for an account? I ust received an invite to give away. If you would like to try GMail out for yourself, leave me a comment, or shoot me an e-mail and let me know. If I get a lot of requests I'll either think of some kind of contest, or I'll just give it to whoever I like best.

Friday, August 06, 2004

And The Wine Flowed

As I mentioned last night, my bro-in-law Bobby came home yesterday for a visit. He loves his wine just as much as Marcy and I do, so I brought some out that he hadn't had a chance to taste yet. And the wine, it flowed. Then Marcy got home from work, and the wine, it flowed some more. Because of that, I am not capable of intelligent thought yet this morning, at least not this early. Thank you and have a nice Friday.

I do have to mention one thing, however, and I'd like to do this with a Haiku. Ahem, hem:

A Leo is she
Prouder of, I could not be
The Mom who raised Me

Happy Birthday Mom, We Love You.

My Stats:
Time Smoke-Free: 6 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 35 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 63
Lifetime Saved: 11 hours
Money Saved: $12.35

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Thursday, August 05, 2004

Customer Service

I do not understand the term "customer service" anymore, especially on the telephone. I believe that companies try to make it easier for both the customer and the employee by implementing computer generated messages, but in the end it only frustrates customers. The experience I had on the phone yesterday with a certain phone company happens more often than not. It is becoming the norm of telephone customer service.

The company in question has multiple phone numbers on their bill for their different departments. I chose the billing 800 number, which was unique from the rest of the phone numbers and dialed, only to be confronted by a computer generated message and menu structure. The computer asked me what department I wanted and gave me choices. In my mind, if I wanted any of these other departments, I would have called a different number, but ok, I'll play along and push the selection for billing questions. With my selection made, the computer then tells me that to speed up service, I should enter my telephone number, starting with the area code, of the account I have a question about. So I did, which led me to believe that when I got a customer service agent on the phone, that person would have my account up and ready to review, but that would not be the case.

After spending a short amount of time on hold, nothing to complain about, I was greeted by a person who asked me how she could help me. When I explained my query, she asked me for the phone number on the account starting with the area code. Ok, wait a minute. What happened to the computer system? I just assumed that "faster service" meant the computer would actually forward my account on to the representative. I guess not. Don't get me wrong, the representative was very friendly, and did answer my question, after asking me to verbally give my permission to review the account, twice, but if a company is going to implement a computer answering system, why not use the information it asks of the customer. It's kind of a waste of money, in my opinion, to not use it. Why not just have someone answer the phone and ask what department the caller would like. Now that would speed up service, without having to listen to a phone book's full of departments to select the one that you want.

In short this phone company has paid, I'm sure, a lot of money to help implement a customer service system. They pay for different 800 numbers for all of their departments. They pay for a computer generated answering system to help expedite the call, and prepare the customer service agent to assist the caller. Neither of these systems are used, however, and in the end the extra overhead comes, most likely, out of the pockets of the consumers in our bills, which begs one question....why?

My Stats:
Time Smoke-Free: 5 days, 6 hours, 2 minutes and 54 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 53
Lifetime Saved: 9 hours
Money Saved: $10.59

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

ADD Test

I tried to take this self test, but I got too distracted. Wait, what were we talking about?

ADD/ADHD Self Test

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Backwards Thinking

And here I thought we were supposed to stay out of the sun and wear lots of sunscreen:
Health Tip for August 4, 2004
Older people worried about osteoporosis should pay attention to the SPF (sunscreen protection factor) on sunscreens.

Because the body cannot absorb sufficient calcium without vitamin D, a vitamin D deficiency can be a major factor in bone loss. The skin makes Vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. Sunscreens with an SPF above eight, block the ultraviolet wavelengths that convert vitamin D into the form needed by the body.

Since the body's ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight declines with age, older people are particularly at risk.
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Monday, August 02, 2004

Another Party

On Saturday, with Marcy working, the kids and I had another party to go to. I know, we're party animals...but it's not a lifestyle by choice. This one was a barbecue in the park for the boys' Mema's (that would be a Grandma for those who don't know) birthday party. Now, I don't know how anyone ever gets to an event on time with kids in tow, no matter what age, but I can never seem to do so. Something always makes me late.

Both Marcy and I have been busy as of late, so Marcy asked me if I could go by the store and pick up a bag for the gift to go in on my way to the party. Little did I know this would be a problem for me. First of all, the party started at 2:30, so wanting to give us enough time to get there, we left at five minutes to 2. On our way in, however, we hit traffic and did not even get off the highway until 2:45 (should take 15 minutes). Then, the fun continued at the store.

After finally finding everything I needed to get I had to wait for ten minutes in a line because the check-out lady was talking to the people who were checking out in front of me. Sure, she was wrapping some of their items in tissue paper, but she could not have been moving any slower. Finally she finshed with them, and wrung up my items and we got out of there. I was about to leave for the park, but I thought I should get the present in the bag before we left.

I'm so glad I decided to do that because the bag that we got, the biggest bag in the store, was not big enough for the gift to fit in. Back inside the store to make sure that there wasn't any bigger bags, and there wasn't. I decided that I would have to wrap it so I bought some wrapping paper and tape. Check out, again, and head to the car to wrap our gift. If anyone could see me having a problem doing so with the items I have, please raise your hand and speak up, because it wasn't until I had the gift on the paper, trying to wrap it, that I realized I did not have any scissors to cut the wrapping paper with. I ended up having to literally rip the wrapping paper to wrap this gift, so it probably looked like my kids did it, but we finally were on our way and made it to the party...only an hour late.

On a positive note, though, Marcy and I are back on track with our bid to quit smoking, so things could have been worse.

Time Smoke-Free: 2 days, 6 hours, 8 minutes and 6 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 23
Lifetime Saved: 4 hours
Money Saved: $5.29