Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!!

As has been tradition here for many years (but apparently not last year), I give you some Youtube Christmas Cheer (tm):

And just because 2018 was the Year of Total Suck:

[Video removed; dumb move, people.]

Christmas plans are minimal; we'll start at my parents place in the morning with a few gifts, have lunch at the clubhouse, then crash back here and try to escape in mindless TV or books. We really just ain't in the mood....

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ticketmaster and Other Scams

[Originally posted at LiveJournal]

Well, nothing horrible happened the last time I tried this, so why not try it again?
One thing using Evernote to write drafts did that I didn't notice right away is change the font size on the post. I wouldn't have expected that to copy over, but it did and I think it makes things a bit more readable. [So of course this time it didn't.] Why everything on the web has to be in 8 point type (and usually light grey text on a white background) has always baffled me since some dweeb started that crap back in 2003. It's even bleeding into real-world printed material. The last channel line-up we got from Spectrum was in maybe 6 point non-sarif text. Really guys?

Anyway, what I was going to talk about was our adventures today trying to buy Bob Seger tickets for his third? fourth? farewell tour. They added a show down here in Tampa, so we thought, "Why not? Now that neither of us have jobs, we have all this money to burn!" Step one was to pay to join the Seger fan club so we could get in line for tickets a couple days early. That was relatively painless and nothing unexpected happened with that part. Then today we attempted to buy the tickets. We made it through the entire waiting-in-the-virtual-line crap, found seats that didn't completely suck, then tried to buy them. According to Ticketmaster, we were not allowed to complete the transaction because we were using a "shared device". First of all, so what if it is? Secondly, it's a PC sitting in my house. It isn't "shared" by anyone. Several attempts later, we switched to my PC to give a try. Same result. Debbie did a complete reboot/reload on her computer and finally managed to buy a couple tickets. Then about ten minutes later, an entirely different section of much better seats started selling. Since when do the shit seats go on sale first? [Update: per Debbie, the cheap seats are shown by default and you have to click twice on the link to show better tickets, because reasons.] Anyway, Debbie tried to grab two of the better seats only to get that damn "shared device" error message again. At that point we decided to say, "Screw it."
Another fun bit was trying to figure out how to determine what the total cost of a ticket was going to be. There isn't a way, at least not before purchase. We found out what was being charged to our credit card only after the fact. Isn't there laws about this sort of shit? And it's not like the fees are immaterial:
Ticket cost - $95 x 2 = $190.00
Order processing fee - $5.00 (Now just what do you think I'm going to do on a ticket ordering site other than order tickets?)
Facility charge - $3.75 x 2 (Huh? What facility? You telling me Bob isn't paying rent to cover the cost of the "facility"?)
Service fee - $19.60 x 2 (I assume this is Ticketmaster, but let's not just say that....)
Standard Mail (10-14 days) - $5.00 (Last I checked, a first-class stamp cost $.50 and arrived in a few days. Ticketmaster must use the Pony Express.)
Total Fees - $56.70 or about 30% of the cost of the damn tickets.
On the upside, we got to watch this really cool animation of a dude walking while repeatedly being forced to stand in the virtual line because we were on a "shared device".
Speaking of assholes, more Moose shit going on. Governor Richard Riddling thinks he fucking Jesus Christ or something, going behind the bar and threatening bartenders and running the bartender meeting last Sunday. This is absolutely prohibited by the General Laws that govern all Moose Lodges, but as he himself has said repeatedly, he doesn't "give a fuck what the General Laws say." I'm giving the state and Moose International until the end of the year to fix this, then I'll be fixing it myself. I'll be damned if I stand by and watch the lodge get flushed down the toilet by some ego maniacal prick.
OK, now lets copy this over to LiveJournal and see what kind of mess it makes.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Off line Editor Testing

[Originally posted at LiveJournal]
Trying something different; instead of doing my rough draft in the on-line editor; I'm trying out writing at least the first draft on my computer, then copy over to LiveJournal. That way, no matter what happens, I at least have a draft. I've been using Evernote pretty much since the day it was first released for any and everything. I like the editor and it does most everything I would ever need it to do for a blog post. I noticed that LiveJournal has some "off-line" editing tools, but I figured why go to all the trouble of installing and learning yet-another piece of software when I already had something that will probably do the trick. What will be interesting is to see how formatting copies over to the LiveJournal editor. I assume at this point, everything uses some form of HTML for text formatting, but these things never seem to work 100%. Excuse some testing:
This is bold.
This is Italics.
This is just some regular text:
And then a quoted text block. (Oops; can't seem to do that in Evernote.)
Let's give this a shot.

Not horrible. There may be some clean-up, and I'll have to do some poking around on the block quote deal, but I think we have a winner!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Cha- Cha- Cha- Changes (Part Deux)

[Originally posted at LiveJournal]

Well, just ran into my first big gotcha on Live Journal. An entire entry just went away somehow. Not sure what I did, but about two hours of work is just gone. Anyway, what follows is a bad recreation:


Monday night, right in the middle of the House Committee meeting, I told the board of Zephyrhills Moose Lodge 2276 to go fuck itself. I'd taken all the bullshit I was going to take. I'd been telling these jackasses not to make me the lodge Administrator, but it was easier for these lazy assholes to have me slide in by default rather than do the fucking job they were elected to do. It would have been different if it was some kind of emergency situation, but they've known for over 18 months that we needed a new Admin as the old one had taken a full-time job somewhere else and was doing the Admin work on nights and weekends. If we were a more-typical lodge of 40 members up in Elk Anus, Montana, that would have been OK. But we're a $1.3 million-a-year business with over 2,200 members just on the men's side of the lodge. When the old Admin decided it just wasn't working, everything should have already been set. Instead, it all landed on me.

We moved to the sweaty dick of North America for one reason only; keep track of my 80+ year old parents when they were down here in the winter and drive them back and forth to Michigan. All that was the first thing to go out the window. In fact, my parents felt compelled to buy memberships just so they could have fish dinner with me on Friday's. Otherwise, they never laid eyes on me. I never had any time for Debbie. All the work on the house came to a screaching halt. Hell, I couldn't even keep the grass mowed. It was just work and sleep.

Then my health started to go: Massive headaches that no over-the-counter med would touch. Eating was out of the question. Then the chest pains, shortness of breath and swelling legs. The best part was that I really couldn't do anything about it. I didn't have the time to go to a doctor, and the lodge doesn't provide health insurance for its employees, so I've been simply putting up with it. I'm sure that will end well....

A few weeks ago, it finally became offically-offical that I was the Administrator and the real fun began. There is a cabal on the board made up of the Governor Richard Riddling, Treasurer Dan Morgan and Jr. Past Governor Larry Robertson that is bent on revenge against the former Admin and his wife. Like cowards everywhere, they wanted someone else to do the dirty work for them; namely, me. At my first House Committee meeting I was too stunned by the unadulterated juvenile stupidity of the entire exercise to do anything. At the second one, I pushed back. Things got ugly very fast and I decided enough was enough.

So now I'm sitting on the sidelines laughing my ass off watching these fools scrambling around like ants whose anthill just got kicked over. I'm especially enjoying all the cries of, "Come back! Come back!" Yea. Right. It could happen, but only under my terms: One, the three people named above are off the board. That's non-negotiable. Two, I come back as temporary Admin while the remainder of the board gets off its fat ass and hires an Aministrator. Three, once the new Admin is in place, I go back to being the Admin Assistant.

None of that will ever happen, of course, so my feet are up while I enjoy the shit show.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Election Hangover

[Originally posted at LiveJournal]

I stopped bothering to vote a long time ago, but I still get a kick out of watching the circus every couple years. Fortunately, I'm not alone. First up; Dmitry Orlov on Russian meddling:

and then some old-school George Carlin:

Look, it really is quite simple. Nothing you do can possibly matter. It used to be that local governments had some control, but Federalism is a long time dead. Any city mayor or state legislater who dares to defy DC will find themselves quickly brought to heel or squashed like a bug. Even at the federal level, we all saw what happened to Trump when he tried to end our pointless wars, normalize relations with Russia and slow illegal immigration. He was quickly set straight by the unelected bureaucracy.

So lower your stress level. Stop voting. Stop caring. Realize that in a thousand years, no one will know or care who was elected mayor of Miami in 2018.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Recycling to Armageddon

[Originally posted at LiveJournal]

While we were in Michigan for Debbie's family reunion, I noticed certain of her family members digging through the trash pulling out "recyclables". I tried to explain that since China, in retaliation for Trump's tariffs, had stopped taking imports of American garbage, and that as a result, the nation's "recyclable" garbage was piling up in port cities and "recycling" facilities. A great deal of it is going into landfills. The rest is being shipped to other Asian destinations who don't even pretend to recycle it; they just burn the stuff in open pits. But at least we get to feel good about buying water in little teeny plastic bottles instead of just installing a water filter.

In any case, I thought of that little episode while catching up on my Lee Camp viewing and stumbling across this sweet little bit:

Being an old fart from when all this was called "ecology", I actually know what that little triangle/arrow thingy with the number in the middle means. A triangle was used because it was supposed to represent a three-step process: Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. In other words, step one is quit buying so much useless crap. Step two, when you do buy stuff, think about what it could be repurposed for at end of life. Then as a last ditch effort to keep it out of a landfill, find a way to recycle it. But being Americans, we were quick to realize that there is no profit in buying less shit or reusing our shit. Recycling, however, could be a multi-billion dollar corporate business that is only profitable because the entire population is guilt-tripped into being unpaid labor and most collection is taxpayer-subsidized. The new triangle/arrow thingy now means: Buy! Buy!! Buy!!! Buy!!!! (but only at eco-friendly stores) - Reuse? Are you nuts? What will my hipster friends think? - Carefully sort the result into the proper bins and tell ourselves what wonderful people we are.

The irony in all this is, as Lee Camp points out, we are using more resources and more energy with all this "recycling" than if everyone just went back to tossing everything into a trash can.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Taking the Plunge

Well, I did it. I paid the $20 bucks to see just what I can do with this thing. The first thing was adding the rest of my links over there on the right. The problem is that I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get the Customize Journal Style without going into Help and searching on "link list". That seems like a cumbersome way to navigate, but I'll be damned if I can figure out how else to get to that page.

I'll get it eventually, I suppose. If nothing else, I'll have to ask the support types how to do it.

Anyway; the reasons we've been incognito for four months.

The first kick in the teeth was, of course, the death of Debbie's mom. We're still trying to get our feet back under us from that one. We do a lot of sitting and staring at nothing, not really interested in much of anything. So we were starting off from a pretty low baseline.

Then we had Debbie's family reunion the first part of August (her mom's family, natch). The drive up nearly killed us, then on the drive home, we ended up stranded with a dead car in the big booming town of Pioneer, Tennessee. We scrambled trying to get the car fixed and/or replaced, but we broke down on a Friday around 10pm and couldn't even get a tow until Monday morning. Meanwhile, Debbie's asshat boss was making threats about how she better get back to work ASAP. (More on those shitdicks in a bit.) We finally got the car running and managed to limp home, but we were both now so far behind at work and at home that it all seemed hopeless.

The next bit of fun was my boss announcing that he was stepping down as Administrator and was leaving the job to me. Understand that this has been the assumption among the members and the board, but I've been consistently saying that me as Administrator would be a disaster for the lodge and for Debbie and I personally. So naturally, everyone thinks I'm just being modest. No, I'm being honest, but to no avail. The process moves ahead with the inevitability of a freight train. If you see a mushroom cloud rising up from Zephyrhills, Florida, you'll know what it is. I'm not even officially official in the job yet and I already have a couple dozen people who refuse to speak to me. No big deal; they're mostly whiny pains-in-my-ass, but probably not a good sign about my future in this job.

Meanwhile, the prick owners of Debbie's place of employment, Cruises-n-More, refused to give her the time off she needed to go back up to Michigan to clean up her mom's affairs. Understand that this is a family-owned business. These people think nothing of taking off for months at a time to go take care of precious daddy when he gets a sniffle. (He lives in Hawaii; what a massive burden it must be for them....) Debbie told them back in May that she was going to need some time around the end of October or first of November. Once plans were final, Debbie gave them exact dates. They dicked around for three weeks before telling her, "No." So she quit without notice.

Personally, I wish Debbie had told them to piss off years ago. They've always treated her like shit, especially the sadistic spic bitch floor manager. And because Karma, Debbie already has a line on something making nearly twice what she was making that also includes health insurance.

So Debbie is up in Michigan sorting through her mom's stuff while I'm batchin' it here in Florida working 60-70 hours a week. Which pretty much brings us up to the present. Back to messing around with LiveJournal.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

We Are Gone

Part of the reason for the long gap in posting is that what little free time I have has been spent looking into Blogger alternatives.

The short answer is that there are none that do everything as easily as they can be done here. The somewhat longer (and far less depressing) answer is that there are several that come close. One in particular, LiveJournal, seems to do enough of what we need to be able to shove off from this place.

The irony is that I'm going to a Russian site so I can say whatever the hell I like without having to worry if the sensitivity gods at google are going to screw with my post.

Anyway, just in case there are any readers left after my four-month hiatus, you can find us here.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Still Playing Around

A month later, I finally got back to this and I just ran into my first road-block. There is a limit on the size of the link list. It's about four entries short of what I need. That sucks. I use my link list every day. I could purge some links, but I've already got it down about as short as I can make it. There are a couple that can go, but I don't know that I can eliminate four entries. And then what? Every time I find something new to read I have to delete something else?


Maybe one of the paid themes? Paid upgrade? Dunno.

[Later] And the answer is.... Money. Like always. But at least it isn't too obscene; $20 a year and we get a lot more than just a longer link list.The biggie is getting rid of ads. We don't see them because we run AdBlock Plus in our browsers, but just in case anyone else ever pays attention to this thing, I'd rather not have them blasted with ads for boner pills and sex toys.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Testing, testing. Is this thing on?

[Originally posted at LiveJournal]

So, I just signed up for this thing a bit ago, so I'm trying to see if this is going to be any kind of a substitute for Blogger. Not that I use all the vastness of Blogger features, but I do use some of them. I'm not all that sure that this will do everything that I want, but maybe it doesn't have to.
OK; that was a fail. My scanned photos are too big, which is no surprise, but Blogger automatically scales them down to "internet size". Lets try a digital photo.

OK; that worked. Just have to remember to scale down scans of old film photos. Not too bad. It's not like I post twenty-year-old photos a lot.

So sticking in a Youtube video is actually easier than on Blogger. Nice.

Well, we'll see what this looks like when it's published.

Monday, July 30, 2018

30 Years Ago Today (well, 35 actually...)

On July 30, 1983, this lady:

met this fellow:

Ok, ok, ok. Stop. Just stop! No singing the Brady Bunch theme!


What was I saying? Oh, yea. So five years later, on July 30, 1988, we did the whole wedding thing:

Then we spent the last 30 years living different places, doing different things, traveling around and meeting all kinds of people.


And that more or less brings us up to today.

Debbie, I know I suck at all that romance stuff with the cards and flowers and cute little stuffed animals. I know I have a hard time even saying Those Three Words. But know this:

I do love you. More than life itself.

Happy Anniversary!

PS: Before anyone gets all, "Awwwww, what a sweetie pie!" go back and read this post.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

It's Been a While....

Since we got back from Michigan, I've pretty much done nothing but work. Because of how other people's vacation schedules, conferences, etc. all worked out, I've had exactly five days off in the last six weeks. I remember back in the day, I worked three jobs with no days off and was carrying a full load of college classes, but those days are a long way in the rearview mirror.

And get off my lawn.

So far, I have today and tomorrow off (fingers crossed) so naturally, it's supposed to rain pretty much 24-7 until some time next week. I should be working on one of the 239 indoor projects, but instead, I'm doing this. Because reasons.

This is supposed to be my slow time of year at work, so even though I've had to go in most days, they should be short days. Instead, I'm routinely putting in 10- and 12-hour days. I'm not exactly sure why, but I do know that there seems to be a much larger amount of foot traffic in my office than normal. But it isn't just people stopping in for a chat; it is (mostly) legitimate business. I have a fixed routine that usually is done by 10:00 or 10:30AM at the latest this time of year. For most of that time, I'm supposed to be the only person in the building. Instead, there is a parade of people interrupting me by banging on the front door. Again, it's mostly legit rather than some old dude working on total liver failure thinking I'm going to sell him a pitcher of beer at 8:05AM (and yes, I routinely get those...). I'm not sure why this is happening, but what I do know is that my turn to vacate the premises is coming up quickly, and I'm pretty sure that where we are staying will not have cell service or access to e-mail. Most likely because I have no intention of having the cell phone on or having any device available that can access e-mail.

Politics. (sigh) What is there left to say? The entire Western world seems to have collectively lost their minds. The latest lunacy: Every president since WWII has met with the head of the Soviet Union/Russia at some point in the first year of their presidency. Trump has a meeting with Putin 18 months into his presidency, and it's treason. Do these morons not own dictionaries? Do they have the slightest idea what that word means? ugh...

I do enjoy watching various subgroups of the professionally oppressed tear into each other. The latest is a bunch of lesbians who want to Get the L out of the LGBT. The issue is tranny dudes claiming to be lesbians, which is just a dude in a dress that enjoys having heterosexual sex with a woman. I can certainly see their point, so go for it, ladies! At the very least, white hetero males will get a few seconds peace. [Update: The latest-latest kerfuffle is vegans vs. LGBT. Gotta love it.]

And I should probably go find something more constructive to do with my time other than this.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

I Just Flew In...

...and boy are my arms tired...

...from punching American Airlines people in their fracking throats.

I was trying to get to Michigan for Debbie's mom's funeral. American had the best fare with reasonable times both going up and bringing both of us back to Florida. I book the flight no problem. I get to the airport no problem. I get through security no problem. We all board the plane no problem. The plane pushes back from the gate and problem. Some sensor somewhere in the bowels of the airplane was giving nonsense readings. So was the backup sensor. So there we sit, ten feet from the jetway, waiting for maintenance. Maintenance gets there and the first thing they do is shut off the AC inside the plane. This was a completely full flight, mind you, sitting in full sun in Florida with outside temps already edging up to 90. The pilot kept coming on the intercom every 15 minutes or so to assure us that it will be "just a few more minutes."

After about 45 minutes of everyone on the plane getting increasingly sweaty (and ripe), the pilot says he is going to tell the maintenance guys that they have to get the AC back on and to assure everyone that the gate people had verified that we would all be able to make our connections in Chicago. A few minutes later, the AC came on, then numerous minutes after that, we were given the all clear to take off.

Yet oddly, 10 minutes or so later, we were still sitting in the exact same spot where we had been for the last hour. Finally, the pilot comes back on to inform us that turning the AC on while repairs were going on had blown out the power to everything on the port side of the aircraft, including the fuel pumps.

"...and we kinda need those."

Yuk, yuk, yuk.

So more fews of minutes while we wait for the maintenance guys to get back and try to get things working. They fail and the pilot pulls the plug on the whole deal. So over two hours after we pushed back from the gate, we were rolled back up and "de-plane-ed". No idea when or if the plane would ever take off and by that time, that day's flights were already full. Finally, the gate agents are told to clear us out of the gate to make room for another flight, and off we all go out through security to the main American counter at which there was exactly one agent at the customer service station. For an entire plane-load of people. Well, OK, not exactly one agent; more like some fraction of an agent because she was doing double duty as some sort of concierge-to-the-really-really-important-passengers while also trying to work through a line of 100 or so people.

[Aside: There were about a half-dozen people on the plane who were on their second attempt to leave Tampa, as the early morning flight to Chicago the previous day had also been cancelled due to mechanical problems. In other words, I wasn't unlucky; this is a chronic issue.]

An hour or so later, I finally get my turn and I get booked on basically the same flight leaving the next morning. I asked where my checked bag was and found out that it was still sitting in the dead plane waiting for me to request it to be taken off. What?!?! Fine. Get my bag, please. I get boarding passes for the next day and head down to baggage claim to wait for my bag to show up.

That process went something like this. Everyone sits and waits. Eventually, the alarms go off and the lights start flashing and the Friendly Male Voice (tm) comes on advising us to not ride on the luggage carousel and to be sure we have our own bags because many bags look alike and not to stick our tongues in light sockets or poke ourselves in the eye with a screwdriver or run with scissors. Finally, the little garage doors open, the belt begins moving and dozens of hopeful people rush up to the carousel.

And one bag comes out.

Then everything shuts down, only for the entire sequence to repeat again in 15 or 20 minutes. Four hours later, my bag is the one that pops out. I consider myself lucky; there are still a dozen or so people waiting for luggage.

Fortunately, I had decided to drive myself and pay for long-term parking rather than bum a ride from someone. I tell American to shove their hotel voucher deep and on a slant, grab the car and head for home. I hit the Z-hills Domino's for some grub, then eat while making phone calls to let everyone know what was going on.

My flight the next morning leaves at 7am, so I'm supposed to be at the airport at 5am which means leaving here at 4am and getting up at 3:30am. By the time I'm done eating and talking on the phone, it is after 10pm, so I don't even bother with going to bed. I just set an alarm and doze on the recliner.

The next day, getting to Chicago is uneventful. I find my gate, verify my departure time, go grab a (very pricey) bite to eat and wait. The screen at the gate has a count-down clock showing how long until boarding starts. When it has about 15 minutes left, it suddenly jumps back up to 35 minutes.


The gate agent grabs the mic and says, "Pftz jpwmzkin fjwnn wkjfhi alakj kj wjpoieajghahf. Klajr fjoinfj klahauoiehjht jlkuotuiwuier jijithe hteh. Thoiuewr oiu."

We find out later that we were delayed because our crew got held up on their previous flight when the door on their inbound plane started to fall off mid-flight. But it was all good; no one got sucked out of the plane like last time(s), and we finally got in the air and made it to Flint in time for me to make it to the viewing and Rosary for Debbie's mom. We got through the funeral, took care of most of the thank-you's, divided up who was going to follow up on what, said our good-byes to everyone and started for home.

Well, we tried to start for home. Due to a big storm making a mess of things in Chicago, our flight couldn't get cleared for take-off. At least this time, we were immediately "de-plane-ed". We had a fairly tight connection in Chicago, but it was also delayed, so we were hopeful we would make it. To make sure we would get home, we had the gate agent grab us seats on the later flight. After less than an hour, we were herded back on the plane and took off. We made it to Chicago in good time and started taxiing up to the gate.

And taxiing. And taxiing. And taxiing. And taxiing. Finally the pilot came on and apologized; we had landed in Indiana and would be driving the rest of the way to Chicago O'Hare.

Yuck, yuck, yuck.

After driving for longer than we had just flown, we were sent off to some sort of penalty box for showing up too fast, where we sat for another 20 minutes or so. Finally we get to the gate, grab our stuff and head for our connecting flight.

Now somewhere along the way, Debbie had tweaked her knee pretty good, so she was moving kinda slow. And naturally, because we came in on a baby jet and were leaving on a 737, we had a little less than five miles to walk through O'Hare to get to our connecting gate. We got there just in time to see our flight being pushed back.

OK. We're OK. We have seats on the next one that leaves in a couple hours. I go up to the gate agent to get boarding passes for the next flight. Before I can say anything, the woman gives me The Hand, and tells me she's too busy and that I need to go stand in line at the customer service desk.


So we go stand in line with a hundred other people at customer "service". After a half-hour or so, some pretentious asshole in a beard and turban announces that the customer service desk was closed and we would all have to go to the other desk in the next terminal.

At this point, I'm getting a little testy. I have a few choice words for Mr. Pretentious as well as a suggestion for where he can... um... store his turban. Oh yea? Go ahead. Call security. Kick me out of the airport. I'll walk to Tampa, and I'll probably get there faster.


We finally gimped to the other customer service desk which, of course, had twice the line as the first one. We spotted some customer service phones, but on closer inspection, they were all out of order. Because this is American. Above the non-functioning customer service phones, a screen was showing scenes of exotic places we could be going to if we weren't trapped at Chicago O'Hare. Mixed in with the idyllic scenes was a slide with a customer service phone number.


Debbie grabbed the cell and in about two minutes we had seats, the flight number and a gate. Off we went at top speed, which wasn't much. I recall being passed by a ninety-year-old woman with a walker. But we got there, Debbie grabbed a seat and I went to stand at the (empty, natch) desk at the gate. There was one person ahead of me who was obviously a newbie air traveler. She asked me why there wasn't anyone working the desk. I said, "Oh, someone will get here fifteen minute before we board. Someone may walk up before that, but they will just use the computer and pretend you don't exist." She looked at me like she was trying to figure out if I was pulling her leg or not. When there was around 25 minutes left on the countdown-to-boarding clock, a guy came up to the desk and started banging away on the computer. She started talking. He never looked up or gave any indication that she existed, then just walked away. The poor woman looked at me in complete amazement. I said, "That's customer service, American Airlines-style." Everyone in line behind us just chuckled. It really is astonishing what you can get used to....

In any case, the gate agent showed up precisely 15 minutes before boarding, we got seat assignments, boarded on-time and made it all the way to Tampa without anything falling off the plane. The one up-side of missing our connection was that our bag had made the connection and was waiting for us outside the American baggage service area. We had our luggage and were in our car heading home while everyone else on our flight were still waiting for the baggage carousel to start up.

So, yea. American Airlines. Never again. If my choices are American or riding a bicycle, look for me peddling in the bike lane.

And please understand; I'm not in any way blaming any of the "customer facing" employees. For the most part, they were as frustrated and clueless as the passengers, doing what they could for as many people as they could as fast as they could. Granted, a couple seem to take perverse pleasure in the suffering of others and even tried to add to it in whatever petty ways their bottom-of-the-totem-pole position afforded them. But they were a distinct minority.

No, this is a management problem. Maybe the flora and fauna growing in American's c-suites should be forced to fly in steerage with the deplorables several times a year, just to get a taste of what their cost-cutting looks like for their employees down in the trenches as well as their customers. The most poignent moment of the entire clusterfuck was waaaaaay back at the very beginning when at around the one-hour mark of sitting 10 feet from the gate, the pilot came on and apologized yet-again and assured everyone that he was doing everything in his power to get the plane off the ground because this was his last flight before getting some down time and seeing his wife and kids.

Yea. Life in these united States.

And I'm going to stop now before this becomes the Great American Novel.

P.S. Dear American; just in case this little diatribe comes to the attention of your Customer Care Department (or whatever you call the people from India you contract with to try to offer freebees to smooth ruffled feathers), don't waste my time calling. I don't care if you give me free airfare for life, I'm never flying American Airlines again. Thank you.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Marge Wiklanski/Boris, RIP

Debbie just called a little while ago. Her mom died peacefully May 12, 2018 around 11pm.

God Bless You, Mom.

You will live forever in our hearts.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Good Bye, Dozer

As Jon Katz says, you did what you came to do and it was time for you to go help someone else.

Love you always, buddy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

I don't really mean that; things are pretty dry around here, but they are a whole lot less dry than they were 48 hours ago. We've had two days of everything from light sprinkles to thunder-lightning-horizontal-rain-OMG-it's-TEOTWAWKI! It looks like it is finally over, so maybe I'll get some clean-up done on my couple days off.

Speaking of a couple days off, on my last couple of couple of days off, we got this done:

Our Fortress of Solitude (with gaping hole)

Inside our Fortress of Solitude (with gaping hole)

Not sure what we are going to do about the gaping hole. No combination of standard blinds matched the odd size of our RV-plus-extension-plus-Florida-room-width porch (one reason it took us the better part of six years to make this simple improvement). I'd like to build something free-standing that would fill the gape (is that English?), but the company that makes the blinds doesn't sell the fabric in bulk. I have some shade fabric we bought like six years ago, but it really looks ugly next to the grey:


The company that we bought the brown stuff from now has grey fabric, but it's a lot darker than the blinds, so I'm not sure it would be much of an improvement. But for now, another project checked off the list; only 7,429 to go.

One of which is to get this site away from Google. I have a solid possibility. It costs money, but not very much (less than $50/year). It will likely be somewhat painful to move all the accumulated crap to something else, which is exactly why Google thinks they can get away with anything. At this point, I'm just ready to be done. I started this thing with a paid web host, then moved it to Blogger (before it was Borg'ed by Google) to save the pittance I was paying the host. One of those decisions that seemed to make sense at the time, but was probably not a great move in retrospect. TANSTAAFL. Now it's looking like I'll be taking this thing full circle back to a paid web host. The difference will be the physical location; my original host was in Alaska and the one I'm considering is in Iceland. So the latitude will be similar, but the longitude certainly will not be.

So now I have to figure out how to migrate everything and how much disk space that's going to take and how much monthly data gets burped up, etc. I'm sure Google will be very helpful....

Not much else going on. We still have no clue what we are doing about our parents, both of our jobs still suck dead bunnies, and all the news media can do is scream RussiaRussiaRussia!!! and BombAssadBombAssadBombAssad!!! (sigh) I can't even force myself to care enough to criticize all the stupid.

Other than to say this: If we continue in the direction that things seem to be heading, the US government will wish it never stopped hiding all those flag-draped coffins.

Well, the sun is out and it is just now getting up over 70 degrees, so I should go outside and wash some siding.