Gotta just love customers sometimes.
Thursday:     Customer:   OMG!  No one can log in!
                     Us:   People ARE logging in. For the few that are failing, you're not sending the proper login info.  Here's the details.  Please fix, and let us know the reusults when you try again.

Rest of Thursday:    no reply
Friday:                    no reply
Satuday:                 no reply
Sunday:                 no reply
Monday:                no reply

Tuesday:    Customer:  WOOP! WOOP WOOP!!  Emergency!   no one can log in!   WOOP! WOOP! WOOP!
                   Us:   People ARE loggin in, and you're still not sending proper login info for the ones that are failing......

*bangs head on desk*

you idiot!   *BONK* WOOWOOWOOWOO!  Nyuk Nyuk!

great customer service
I think sometimes we get so used to poor customer service, that when when we suddenly get exceptional service, it just blows us away.  Like what just happened to me today.

About 5 years ago, maybe longer, a bunch of Archy's flock all met at one of the cons. He took 6 of us or so to an Italian restaurant called "Buca di Beppo", and I rather liked it. You order several items, and they bring it out to you "family style".  IE, in a big bowl, and you serve yourself.

I noticed one of their restaurants 3 blocks away from where I work, so signed up for their online deals club. I get a coupon emailed to me fir aa free small pasta with any purchase.  The picture looked like maybe an 8" oval plate of Zitti,  Great, I think. I'll have the soup and salad special for $6.99 and get a little plate of spaghetti to go with it.      WRONG!!!!  While I'm eating my salad, the waitress brings me this huge bowl of spaghetti.  "I thought it was supposed to be a small plate!" I object.  She explains the "small" entree is for serving 2 people.  OMG!!   Guess I'll be taking home lunch for tomorrow, too.    But wait, it gets better.   I get the check, and its only for $2?!?   She rang it up as an entree, plus $1 for soup, plus $1 for a salad, and then minus the entree.

Needless to say, she got a big tip, and I'll definitely be back, and will be telling others of this place!

bang head here....
     Why the hell does everyone think that just because you work in technical field with computers that you have all the time in the world to fix THEIR computer problems?
     If you have a friend that works in a bank, do you ask them to come by your house several times a month to balance your checkbook and work on your personal budget?
     If you have a friend that works as a cook in a restaurant, do you ask them to come by your house several times a month to cook dinner for you?
     No? So why is it OK for some people to keep asking me to fix their computer for them, then?

Case 1:  my mother.   No matter how many times I’ve told her to NOT click on “fix my computer” adds, she does anyway and then begs me to clean up all the malware that it installed.  She INSISTS on using Yahoo’s webmail, despite the fact that they’re constantly changing things and breaking it.  I spend HOURS setting up her mail on outlook express and showing her how to use it.  Nope, she doesn’t like it.  Thank you for wasting my time.  Don’t call again the next time Yahoo breaks something.  Did you try looking up a solution on Google?  Did you REALLY?   Then how come when I do Google search word for word on what you just asked me, the first 5 that come up all have solutions?    Oh…  and then she tries to bribe me to come over to her house to fix stuff with offers of dinner.
Case 2:  my ex.  I‘m trying to remain on friendly terms with her, but she pulls the same “can you fix my computer” crap constantly, too.  She updates Java, and suddenly her app that she needs for work stops working.  So I get panic stricken IMs from her at 11pm at night begging me to fix it for her.   I guess she doesn’t think I sleep at night.  I tell her to IM our son and he can help her since he stays up till all hours of the morning.   I never hear back.   Oh well.  Night night.  Oh, and I know she has 2 laptops.   Use the other one until you can fix the java issue.
Case 3:  I guy I used to work with and probably haven’t talked to in 2 years emails me out of the blue, asking if he can pay me to fix his computer.   Knowing him, he’s probably still trying to use that 10 year old piece of crap he had when I LAST looked at it.  Save your money and put towards a halfway decent new PC.

So, let’s look at things from my point of view.
I get home from work about 6:30pm.   I try to get to bed by 10:30pm.  That leaves me about 4 hours to do what I need to each evening.   Take off an hour for dinner, leaving 3.  I need to work on schoolwork for at least an hour, leaving less than 2.   Take off another hour or so for house work and other personal stuff I got to do, leaving about 1 hour.   And now you want me give up that 1 hour I have a night for myself to try to relax by basically doing more of my job for you for free?

T minus 3 days……
...and desperately trying not to kill anyone here.

3 more days of the BS here before I start my new job and my tolerance of this BS keeps dropping lower and lower as that final day approaches.  This is supposed to be a SERVICE desk…..but I’m really wondering where some of that service is.  I’ll miss some of the people here, but I sure won’t miss the attitudes around here.

A perfect example:   someone calls in about an error they’re getting in the software.  I fill out a trouble ticket and send it off to the team that handles that software.  After 2 weeks, they send it back with a message that basically states that they can’t figure out what the problem is, send it to the hard ware group.  Excuse me?  *YOU* can’t send it to the hardware group yourself?  Just what did you accomplish by sending it back here, other than delaying a solution for this person?  YOU are the supposed expert here.  I sure don’t have the training, let alone the access to fix that error.  We can teach you how to send a ticket to the hardware group.  If we can figure that out, you guys surely can.  There: done.  Took me what…  2 seconds?
Example 2:  someone knows they completed several required courses in the education software, yet there is no record of it in there.  They probably did do it, but the system probably lost track of it when these jokers completely screwed up a system upgrade.  Hell, 2 months later and there’s still like 30 course that aren’t working yet.  Think you guys could check the system logs that I don’t have access to and see if this person really DID do them and give them credit?  Nope!  They just send the ticket back, and don’t even bother to say WHY they sent it back in the transfer log.   If I did something like that, I’d probably get my ass chewed out.
And I swear, if I see one more ticket come back requesting we call the person back to get some more info, I’m going to create a telephone service request for the lazy a**hole with a comment that says “I assume this person’s phone is not working because they’re completely incapable of calling someone back themselves.” 
And a few other things that bug me about this place:
The manager and department leads are away from their desk like 90% of the time in meetings and who knows what else.  (avoiding work maybe?)  Yet they keep saying we’re supposed to go to them and not other people in the department if we have questions.
The majority of the calls we get are from doctors and nurses at the clinics & hospitals we support.  20 minutes to change a password because you’re too stupid to type it incorrectly the first 10 times?  And this is the person that’s supposed to save my life?

And then there was the whole issue with that one guy who BS’ed his way into a promotion that he wasn’t qualified for by schmoozing with one of the VP’s.  They didn’t even give anyone else a chance to even apply for that one.   Don’t get me started on that one.

After Friday, it’s not my problem anymore.   I’ll be going from a temp job of 1 year that I’ve been making $12/hr with no benefits, supporting 20+ programs with very little training, to a $37k a year job supporting 1 application with full benefits after 30 days.  My only regret leaving here is that I can’t take the other temps with me.   They all deserve better than this crap.

Yes. I'm still alive.
Wow, its been like forever since I posted. I just hate writing about myself I guess.

So what have I been up to? Mostly trying to dig myself out of a deep depression. Been applying to all sorts of jobs since getting laid off last summer. Most of the time I'm lucky to hear back. I did get a job from a recruiter today for a tech level II spot in the city that sounds like I'm perfect for. Got a phone interview set up for tomorrow. wish me luck.

As expected, the high heating bills from the winter ate up what little money I was able to save. blech. The unemployment I'm getting is just barely enough to keep me going right now. Covers my bills, but not much beyond that. If I don't find a job by next winter, I don't know what I'm gonna do.

My ex is coming to visit our son in June.  I'm really NOT looking forward to that.

But things could aways be worse.  My pastor is in the hospital for cancer treatment, and he's probably going to have some dialysis. The way I look at it:  there are almost 7 billion people in this world, so the chances of you being that one guy that's worse off then everyone else is practically nil.

FINALLY finished my chainmaile shirt that I started like a year and a half ago. Turned out pretty nice, though maybe a bit too big:

And since I got so much free time now, I decided to make some chainmaile jewelry to sell:   Pass it around! No orders off ETSY just yet, but my mom has gotten me a few orders from her friends.

I'd still like to get to MFF this year, but finances (mostly lack thereof) may kill those plans.  Guess I'll see when Novemrber gets closer.

Tacet:   Grats on the new job.  Macey's sounded like it was a huge hellhole for you.   Good to get out of there.  And yes, you and Archy do need to be together and get married and have bunny/chicks and stuff like that.  You both need each other, and its hard on both of you living in different states.

Archy:  Glad you got things worked out with your boss.  I know that's been eating at you for a long time.  Now we just gotta get your paper published, and find you a job to go to once your fellowship is over.  And I want an autographed copy of that paper, too.   It oughta sell good on EBAY once you get your Nobel.  ::grins::

Some good news for a change!
Finally got some good news to report:

1) MRI came back clear! No tumors or anything like that. So WHY my testosterone is low, may remain a mystery. I'll probably just have to keep using this hormone gel for a long time to come.

2) Finally got my PayPal account straightened out. Got a hold of someone today who actually knew her A** from a hole in the ground when I was trying to tell her my SSN didn't belong on that other account (probably my Ex's.) I think the other people I talked to thought I was trying to open a 2nd account, and the response I kept getting was that I couldn't have my SSN on 2 accounts. She took my number off that other account, which then let me attach it to the RIGHT account, and the hold is now lifted. I then promptly filled out the app for the debit card.

I need to rant... and yes, I'm still alive
Yes, I’m still alive. I’ve just been in a severe “hide from the world” mode lately. Nothing any of my friends did – just losta personal crap to deal with:

1) Health: CPAP doesn’t seem to be doing squat for me, which is real surprising after seeing the test results from my sleep study. Been using it almost every night, too (skipped a few nights when my allergies made me so stuffed up, I couldn’t breath through my nose mask even if I wanted to.) My other doc said there’s something going on with my pituitary gland, so had an MRI for that last week, and should have the results of that soon. The test itself wasn’t that bad, though I’ve done more fun things then get shoved into a narrow hole for 45 minutes while my head is in a vice and all these loud noise going on around me. It’s the possible results that got me nervous. And my mother’s talk of tumors and what not sure didn’t help.
2) Money: IRS is taking its time reviewing my amended return. State I got back with in a week or 2. Feds say it can take up to 15 weeks. (but if you owed them money, they’d want it back right away.) IRS is still possessing the innocent spouse release thing I filed way back when. Guess they have to give her a certain amount of time to respond.
3) Money part 2: wanted to get a Pay Pal debit card so I can use the money I got in there for AC. They need my SSN. Fine. I try to out it in, and it says my SSN is already being used on another account. WTF? From what information I got out of them, its probably some old account of my EX’s. So what do they do? They lock my account out, and now I gotta jump through some hoops to prove I am who I say I am so I can get to my $750 I have stashed there for AC. Already faxed in my SSN card and state ID. Hopefully they won’t need much more then that.
4) Ex crap. She’s coming in a month or so to visit our son. Where can I go hide for a while? That woman has no financial sense whatsoever. I got an IM from her today: “I think you should refinance using some of Obama’s deals”. Hmmm.. lets think about that for a moment. Her name is still on the mortgage, so she’d have to sign all the stuff too, and she’s not here. She has like $7000 in judgments against her which they’d probably want to take out of the house, and I’m sure as hell not paying for her stuff. When I looked at refinancing a year or so ago, I was rejected cuz of bad credit, and that was before she got sued. On the good news front, a friend of mine looks up some legal stuff when we were talking about me getting a divorce once I can afford a lawyer. Apparently Wisconsin has an abandonment clause that applies if your spouse has been gone over a year and has no intention of returning. She’s been gone to Mexico for a year and a half now, and told me she’s applying for citizenship there. Good. That’ll pretty much nail that coffin shut on her.
5) Anthrocon. Really looking forward to that. Been looking at airfare: will cost me around $150 round trip. Giles has the room for us booked, though hits at an overflow hotel. PayPal has my con money locked up for the time being, but I’m not going to let that stop me. Hopefully will be resolved by then, or art least get my IRS refund by then. Worst case: some bills get delayed. But I really need this for a moral booster.

Happy Happy Joy Joy
First off, I’d like to apologize to my friends for being a bit scarce as of late. Between servers going down at work, days when 1/3rd of the department is out, my apnea acting up, etc…. I’ve been zonking out early, and just needed some “me” time lately.

But on the good news side of things….

Finally got to talk to the doc about the results of my sleep test last month. Turned out to be one of those “wow!” moments for me. We pretty much figured I had apnea, we just didn’t realize how bad. The doc gave me a copy of the test summary, and here’s how he presented it to me.

After not falling asleep for 2 hours, they gave me a sleeping pill. Once I did finally fall asleep, it looked like a mess. The part that looks like a UPC code (line 7) is me stopping breathing 71 times an hour. OUCH!! That in turn leads to briefly waking up (line 10), not getting enough oxygen (line 1 average dropped below normal), elevated heart rate (line 2 – hard to tell, but it slowly was rising), and no REM sleep (line 6 – its supposed to look like a black bar running down the middle.)

In short, pretty bad. The tech woke me up around 2:30 to start me on a CPAP machine. Things looked MUCH better after that:

Line 4 is where they were increasing the CPAP pressure to find what worked for me. They had to crank it pretty high to get things to “normal” for me. Now instead of a UPC code for apnea (line 7) and wakeups (line 10), I had just a few which is normal. O2 level stayed normal (line 1) and heart rate (line 2) dropped a bit like its supposed to. And what we’re looking for on line 6…. The black bar of REM sleep. Yay!! The doc said you normally have a bunch of shorter REM stages, but since I probably haven’t had decent REM sleep in ages, my body tried to make up for it while it could.

Now I just have to wait a few days for the medical supply company to get me my own CPAP… probably just a few days.

And, on the other good news front…. I already got like $500 back in state and Federal tax refunds. My parents got their taxes done, and their preparer said I probably should have gotten back more then that and wanted to review it. Sure enough, I missed a few things: 1) since my ex has been living in Mexico for over a year, I can file Head of Household instead if just married filing separately. 2) You can deduct state income tax withheld. Even though I PUT all that into the free filing site I used, it for some reason didn’t deduct it. The end result is I should be getting back another $700 on amended returns. I’m going to go back and check last years return to see if it failed to deduct it there, too.

Ok… Guess I’m looking for a bit of advice if anybody’s experienced something like this before.

Several months ago, I had walked into my bedroom to find Spikey, my beagle, lying in her usual spot on my bed, except she was shaking violently – tail tucked like she was deathly afraid of something. When I went to pet her and calm her down, I found he had wet the bed. She was a rescue dog from the human society, so I just assumed that maybe her previous owner had beat her after she had tinkled somewhere. In any case, she was her usual waggy self 10 minutes later after getting lots of hugs and cuddles, and the bedspread got a washing.

I didn’t think much of it until it happened again the other night. This time she was on the floor curled up by my feet as I was on the computer. All the sudden I felt her leaning against me pretty heavily and I looked down to see what she was doing. Same thing – she was shaking, and looked terrified with her tail tucked and she had wet the floor. I had to pull her out from under the chair to calm her, and she just felt very stiff. Again, 5-10 minutes later she was just fine.

So, now I’m starting to think maybe something else is going on with her. She’s usually pretty good about letting us know she needs out. I thought maybe a stroke, but she’s not exhibiting any weakness on one side – she’s fine 10 minutes later.

The other thing that came to mind is an epileptic seizure? That would actually make sense – loss of muscular control would explain the stiffness, shaking, and loss of bladder control. I’m not familiar with epilepsy, but I understand most sufferers are just fine when they’re not having a seizure.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on this? I love her dearly, but don’t exactly have the money to take her to the vet for a battery of tests?

Spikey snuggled up with Teckel

Hippo, Birdy, Two Ewe....
The day I’ve been dreading has finally arrived.

My 40th birthday. Yippee.

Really, I’m just a day older then yesterday, so why the big deal? Humans just have this big obsession when you get a bunch of zero’s at the end of the count: 40 years, 0 months, 0 days. When you’re less then 10, you count the years in halves. (I’m four and a half years old!) Up until about 25, you count the individual years. Beyond that, the 5 and ten year divisions are the significant ones.

So why the big significance with 40 years? When life expectancy was around 80 years, 40 was the halfway point. With the advances in medical technology, people are living closer to 100 now, so 50 is starting to become the old 40, but still… I was half-expecting to come into work and have my desk decorated in the traditional black streamers and balloons courtesy of one of the resident jokesters. Luckily, I was spared.

I guess what’s bugging me the most is with the divorce and financial & medical issues I’ve been through lately, it feels like my life is half over and I have nothing to show for it. But on the bright side, things are looking up some for the second half. The truck is paid off, so that’s an extra $400 a month to spend on other things… like an attorney to actually get the divorce underway and pay back my parents some. And I’m finally getting my medical issues taken care of. Hope I get that CPAP machine, soon. I haven’t been sleeping well.

Looks like its going to be a gloomy day out. They’re predicting 14 inches of slow by tomorrow morning, and its going to be coming down slow all day. My parents were going to take me out to dinner for my birthday, but we may need to postpone it. Could be worse. Archteryx got buried under 2 ½ feet of snow in DC and they’re predicting another foot for them.

I’ve gotten completely burned out on playing EVE and Warcraft. Haven’t played either in months. I should probably suspend my accounts and save myself some money. Warcraft was just turning into the same grind over and over. The bugs and “updates” in EVE pretty much killed my desire to play that – the devs admitted to my CEO that there were bugs that made out billion ISK ships disappear without a trace and they wouldn’t replace them, and the last patch REALLY screwed up the rules on how you held onto territory – last I checked, I was docked in whats now the middle of enemy territory. Would be a royal pain to get out of there in one piece if I ever did decide to play it again.

So I started playing Dragon Age: Origns and Star Trek Online. DA:O is a pretty nice adventure game, though I set the combat level to “easy”. I enjoy solving all the puzzles and exploring every nook and cranny, not having to reload the game 15 times to figure out the right tactics to get through a particular battle. STO is a nice mix of solo space and ground missions, and PVP between the Federation and Klingons. It just came out so is a bit full of bugs, but its pretty nice. Its got options to put in your login info for social networks like LJ – I think it will post character achievements. Oh… and I’ve been warned about tribbles – if you leave one in your inventory with a stack of food, you’ll wake up the next day to a bunch of tribbles and no food.


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