Print Story The only way out of tech support is feet first
By georgeha (Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 08:43:23 AM EST) tech support, books, movies (all tags)
Plus ranting, 2009 in review, Christmas, Tolkien and the Great War, reverse kharma, darn those Wii playing kids, Conservatives do something right,
and less.

Poll: Favorite sled (k5 rerun)?

The only way out of tech support is feet first

I was thinking that one day as I was leaving our lab while trying to recreate a Japanese problem because I had a voice mail on our escalation cell phone. I had hopes ten years ago that I was leaving the hotline behind, I was wrong.

It got worse, one evening a few minutes before leaving for the Family Association Potluck my dad called, he's having internet withdrawal. His main box died with an NTLDR not found message a few weeks ago, I burnt him a recovery ISO, but it was more serious than that, an HD failure.

A few years back he found a cheap laptop at a garage sale, maybe a PII running Win 98 (not SE). One Christmas I tried to find a PCMCIA CD rom drive, they're nowhere near as common as they were in 2000, I struck out (USB isn't an option since it's Win 98, not 98SE). A few Father's Day's ago I found him a PCMCIA wifi modem, that was a struggle, as not many exist that work with Win 98. I got it to work after a while, it was a winning Father's Day gift. Anyhow, his call was about the laptop, it was booting up and trying to connect to ASL, not via Wifi. I tried, but I haven't touched Win98 in a year and half, I had no idea how to fix it over the phone, and it was stressing me out.

In a final bit of tech support news, my right flasher was flashing too fast. With a modicum of circuit knowledge, or automotive knowledge, you can suspect a burnt bulb. It's the front turn signal.

Unsurprisingly, Target does not carry turn signal bulbs, one of the few reasons to pick Walmart over Target.

Surprisingly, I may have the correct one in my basement. I just need a non-brutally cold day to replace it.


In my other rants, I forgot to rant about my bank. On the 15th I went in person to pay a credit card bill that was due that day. A few days later, I got a late fee, so I looked it up online. The bank took the $500 out of my checking account, but only credited my credit card for $5, nice way to make money. I emailed them about this.

One morning while I was showering I got a call from my bank. Foolish me hoped they were admitting they screwed up, so I called back. After the press 1 Hell (Your account is overdue, press 1 to pay now, press 2 if you'll pay in five business days, press 3 to discuss selling spare organs, press the number of the starting centerfielder of the loser of the National League pennant series in 1973 followed by the pound sign to talk to someone) I talked with Beverly, who agreed that someone was looking into it, and they won't call me anymore, and then asked if I wanted to buy life insurance from them. Umm, no, I'm not feeling that you're particularly competent, why would I want to trust my families well being to you. Of course, I got two more debt collection calls after Beverly assured me I wouldn't.

It looks like HSBC finally figured out why, after decades of business, I would underpay my CC at exactly 1% of the minimum, while having the whole minimum taken out of my HSBC checking account. That only took six business days.

Yeah, I want to do more business with them, right. I eagerly await the apologetic call from them, asking for my forgiveness for their mistake and their lying and their badgering. Maybe they'll give me a pony, too.

Darn those Wii playing kids!

A few nights before Christmas the Girl Scouts were wrapping in the Barnes & Noble near my job, so I went to pick up the thirteen year old and newspaper_girl. They weren't done, and didn't get many things to wrap, so I was guilted into doing a bit of Christmas shopping, getting a gift for my sis, my dad (which ended up being something I want to read, too, my bad), for one of the eight year old's friends, and from thirteen year old to eight year old. The last took a bit of logistical work, as eight year old came with me.

Anyhow, thirteen year old and newspaper_girl had a sleepover, sort of. My wife told them to go to bed at 2:00. and then the door slamming commenced. Her bedroom door is tricky, you have to pull it closed and then turn the know, it's an old house that has settled a little bit.


Christmas was good, though thirteen year old wanted Uggs that are still on the way (they initially sent the wrong color, and now they're backordered, bad ebay seller). she did get Disney; Sing It: Pop Hit, and I scored 888k points when I sang Bubbly. Woot! They both got DS Pokemon games, which has been their major activity since.

I got Gold Versapak batteries, black leather gloves and a hat. They're all much appreciated.

Monday the 29th we got out the inflatable tube thirteen year old got for Christmas, to go sledding at the Cobb's Hill Reservoir (it's the park behind our house, and maybe the highest point in Rochester) and meet the newspapers there. The tube was so big when inflated that it wouldn't fit in my little Tercel, we had to bungee it on top of the car, with the bungees running through the open windows. The windows probably would have had to stay open anyhow, the little heater core can't adequately defrost with more than one person in it in the winter.

That tube is fast and uncontrollable, one could almost slide down the entire hill and end up in the street (newspaper_dad nearly did). There wasn't a lot of snow on the hill, so I used our reliable black Pelikan 2 1/2 person toboggan sled to carry more over to the slope. While doing so, I found a cell phone.

After it got dark, we headed home. Newspaper_dad and I agreed to meet the kids at the bottom of the slope, they would sled down, we would drive. Then, bungeeing the tube on the car to drive a few blocks home.

Asshole part one, I left my window rolled down overnight, it was very windy and a little snowy. I had to shovel my car out from the inside this morning.

Asshole part two, I told my oldest to leave the tube on the porch, rather than bring it in and take up space and get more snow all around.

Inside I called the ICE number on the cell, talked to the dad who agreed to come by later and pick it up.

Eventually, he did.

Tuesday morning, I noticed our gate on the porch was bent way down, and the tube was gone. It could have been the wind, but the way the gate was bent over, I suspect some asshole took it. It would be wrong to wish them to slide headfirst into a tree, if only the cost of care of a quadraplegic would most likely be on the taxpayers dime. Can I wish for a broken arm?

That morning, the drive in sucked, very cold and slippery, with ice forming on the inside of my windshield. I went to Target and bought another tube, they were out of the big round ones, so I bought a two person figure eight shaped one.

Update! The tube was in our neighbors back yard. Sorry about that broken arm.

Book review

In recent new to me book news, I read Tolkien and the Great War, about how Tolkien's service in WWI influenced his Middle Earth stories and poems. For completists and fanatics only, I found it dry.

Out with 2009, in with 2010

Highlights of 2009 were vacationing in Maine, and rollerblading again. I'm hoping 2010 is much better, I deserve it. It looks like we'll be ringing in the New Year at the Porsche's again, hooray for friends who like to entertain.

We're seeing Mrs. Ha's family Saturday, for the family holiday get together. We did see two of her sisters and a niece last Sunday, for which I made Migella's Ham in Coca Cola (anyone want some ham, I have a lot left), which was scrumptious. Conservatives may suck at governing, but they can have good looking and good cooking kids.

Financially, I cut my debt by about $10k, which is just about what Mrs. Ha brings home. No need to guess what happens if she quits her job, which is a possibility as her depression is oscillating between really bad and crippling.

In book reviews, my top five for 2009. By my count, I read 58 books that were new to me in 2009. In an informal rule, I'm only allowing one book per Author in the top five, otherwise Zodiac would be a contender for 5.

1 Anathem
2 Wages of Destruction
3 Peddling Prosperity
4 Zero
5 Hogfather

In movie reviews, my top five for 2009. By my count, we watched 23 movies that were new to me in 2009. This total seems a little low, but then for months we watched old Twilight Zones. The girls have been watching Spirited Away lately, but I haven't watched it the full way through, so I can't count it.

1 Breaking the Waves
2 Juno
3 Up
4 The Born Losers
5 Superbad

< doot doo doo | 2009 Wrap-Up >
The only way out of tech support is feet first | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden)
WIPO by Herring (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 09:16:15 AM EST
We found that a wakeboard (with the bindings off) worked pretty well. If you're daft you can even try to ride it standing up.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

You can't fit it under gimmicky plastic foam by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 09:22:25 AM EST
thing? Okay.

[ Parent ]
You don't expect me to actually by Herring (2.00 / 0) #5 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 09:50:06 AM EST
read the poll options first do you?

Some people.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
wipo by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 09:43:59 AM EST

Wasn't that a Flexible Flyer? by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 09:46:17 AM EST

[ Parent ]
named artifacts by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 11:42:36 AM EST
as a table-top gamer, thought you knew..

[ Parent ]
Not those kinds of games by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 11:44:50 AM EST
Aside from Squad Leader, most of my games have faceless and nameless groups of men and machines (I mourn them less when they die).

[ Parent ]
I had this really awesome sled when I was little by debacle (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 10:15:42 AM EST
It was neon green and very hard plastic. The runners on the bottom were about 3/4 inch square cross-section, and that thing flew.

My parents' asshole dogs got at it a few years back, but at that point it was still good as new, even had the original rope on it.

Snow tubing was pretty awesome last year, up until my wife had her little stunt. Don't know if I'll ever feel the same about that.


I'm old man by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 10:19:34 AM EST
my memory fails when I try to recall your wife's stunt.

[ Parent ]
She broke 4 of her vertibrae by debacle (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 10:27:30 AM EST
In a really ridiculously unintelligent bit involving a snow tube and our minivan.


[ Parent ]
I see, I know I was freaking by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 10:32:13 AM EST
when my girls insisted on sledding near the trees.

[ Parent ]
WIPO: SR-71 Blackbird by FlightTest (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 11:49:54 AM EST
The only sled who's driver's business cards actually read "Sled Driver".

Right by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:05:08 PM EST
I should have mentioned rocket sleds, too.

[ Parent ]
re: fucking banks by lolwhat (2.00 / 0) #14 Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 06:29:04 AM EST Get thee money to a credit union or a community bank today.
If cigarette packs are required to have pictures of diseased lungs, college brochures should be required to have photos of grads working at Starbucks.
Flexible Flyer by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 08:08:31 AM EST
I had one of those. Once caught air off of a bump. Which would've been more fun if I hadn't sideswiped the bush while airborne, leaving a scar on my elbow. Eventually gave the sled away, after I outgrew it.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

The only way out of tech support is feet first | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden)