Thursday, September 07, 2006
Noni's happy ending
She took her computer in to the computer dude this morning. This is a service her boss has used before, so she was sure to throw her boss's name around (he's a bigwig). The guy gave her a fifteen minute harangue on what junk Dell, Gateway, HP, etc. are. She probably agreed. Before she had left he was already working on trying out a new power source for it. She crossed her fingers and went back to work. While she waited she felt that awful dread you get when you know you're about to get hit with a big bill.

An hour later he calls her back and says it's fixed. It was the power source and the cost is $39.95 for the part and $10 for labor. You can imagine she breathed a big sigh of relief. So Dell was right about it being either the power source, the motherboard, or the processor. But it cost mom $50 just to talk to them about it. She would have had to order the part and wait for it, then install it herself with phone guidance.

I think the computer guy just found himself a new customer.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Way to go, Dell
You asshats made my mom cry. After two hours of your special brand of Dell Hell the frustration overcame her and she cried. You even forced her to eventually be unkind to your phone drones, something that is highly uncharacteristic. A one and a half year-old desktop computer crapped out today. After spending all that time on the phone and talking to God knows how many people she was told that it was a hardware problem; either the power source, the motherboard, or the processor. So she could start ordering parts and trying them one-by-one. They recommended she start with the cheapest. Thanks for nothing, asshats.

She called me wanting to know what to do. Should they buy a new computer? Could they retrieve the stuff saved on their hard drive? I recommended that they take it to someone who could put their hands on it and isolate the problem without making them buy parts to try out one by one until someone decides it was a software problem after all.

I've been through Dell Hell myself. All I wanted was to have the fact that I was a Dell preferred customer reflected on my online account. I needed to eliminate a second account and consolidate the information. You would think I was asking for the Red Sea to be parted. I eventually talked to twelve different people and was passed back and forth between three departments, because no one thought it was their responsibility. It's an infuriating experience because each time you're passed to a new person you are trying not to fry them with the sins of all who have come before them. But eventually you can't take it anymore, the total bureaucratic indifference of each phone drone because none of this is really their fault. They could give a shit if your blood pressure is about to land you in the hospital if you're asked to hold one more frickin' time. And the pisser isn't their fault, so if you lose your cool then you're the asshole. (This happens in doctor's offices too, btw)

Dell is truly f***ing over their brand. I have bought probably twenty Dells over the last few years. I recommend them to friends and family. People depend on me for advice and help with their computers. Dell has lost my trust and it will be difficult for me to recommend them or bring myself to purchase from them again. The pity of the situation is that I don't know who does it better. (And please don't recommend Apple because I won't go there).

I'm sorry, Noni. I know you bought that Dell on my advice. Every brand makes lemons, but the trip through Dell Hell is a specialty of theirs that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
Harvest Time!
Emma with our first pumpkin harvested from our pumpkin patch.

Dream messages
I usually don't lend any credence to dreams. I consider dreams to be your brain entertaining itself while you sleep. Sometimes dreams entertain me too.

Two nights ago I had a dream. It was a clear message to me. The story of the dream was allegorical, but I knew exactly what it meant and I changed things on Monday. Then last night I had another message dream. This time there was no story and no allegory, just a clear message. Weird. I think my brain is making decisions for me in my sleep and telling me what to do.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Reminds me of Ireland
After supper tonight M. had the idea to drive up the ridge opposite our house and see how progress is going on the pond the farmers are building. You've seen dozens of pictures of the ridge in various seasons. So now you'll see some close-up pictures. Our house is to the extreme right of the photo.

The brand spanking new pond
Here's the pond. The recent rains have provided a little bit of muddy water for it. Over the edge of the pond at the very center of the picture is our house. It's a long way to the other side of the valley!

If you look really closely you can see the splash of Emma's rock.

Here's an old abandoned spring house above the pond.

Extra Fair Day
We took advantage of the opportunity to go to the extra day of fair yesterday. We arrived shortly before four o'clock. We bought Emma the arm band for $12 so we were motivated to get our money's worth. Fortunately she was game too. She rode the carousel about six times, went down the huge slide twice and did the ferris wheel with Daddy once. We ate our last funnel cake, french fries and steak sandwich of the fair. It was a very nice day and most all of the vendors were open. I think maybe they salvaged something of the fair after all.

On the death of Steve Irwin
Here is an account. I am terribly saddened by this.

M. and I discovered his show on the Discovery Channel when it first appeared in 1996. We were drawn in and fascinated by his balls-out approach to the animals, and his infectious enthusiasm. The early shows featured he and his new bride, Terri. We told people about this new show and told them they should watch. We watched a star being born.

His effusive personality and love of nature brought him many fans. He brought a lot of interest and publicity to Australia, as well as Queensland, where he ran the Queensland Zoo. When Discovery started the Animal Planet channel Irwin's shows were on in regular rotation. He was a hit in the United States and appeared on many talk shows. He made a feature film and was given the ultimate dubious honor, a spoof on South Park.

But fame brought intense scrutiny. He was roundly condemned for an incident where he brought his infant son near a crocodile during a show. I thought that people went a little overboard with their criticism, but I guess the question was his judgement. At any rate the controversy passed and life went on. Until today.

What is seriously pissing me off is the moralizing that is going on throughout the internet over his demise. Like somehow he deserved it for playing the odds for too long. He had it coming. Death by stingray is an extremely rare occurance. The expert that was along with Irwin's crew said that there have been seventeen human deaths recorded, and only three in Australia. His death was a freak accident. The odds of a direct hit to the heart by the stingray were infinitesimally small. Death by domestic dog was a greater risk to Steve than swimming next to a stingray.

Another comment I saw on the internet was that his death was karmic justice for exposing his infant to the risk of the crocodile. Really? That's some sort of justice? Good thing for my ass that I don't believe in karma then. What an appalling thought by a hateful person.

I'll just say I am deeply saddened by his tragic loss. I'm terribly sorry for his young family. I admired Steve greatly for living his life to the fullest and squeezing every bit of joy out of it. I'll finish with a poem someone else posted as a small tribute to Steve's life. It's by Edna Vincent Millay:

“He burned the candle at both ends,
It did not last the night.
But while it burned, my foes and friends,
It gave a lovely light.”
Sunday, September 03, 2006
First tea party
I guess Emma got tired of seeing the set sitting on the counter as a decoration. She literally pulled the kitchen chair over to the counter and climbed up. I had no idea what she wanted. A lot of pointing and yelling at me revealed that she wanted to play with the tea set. I filled the teapot with some water and she had a grand time. She doesn't understand the idea of tipping the teapot to pour, even though I tried to explain it. So when she pours the teapot is WFO. She just pours a stream of water from one cup to the other. Eventually I had the brainstorm to put the whole tea set on a wash cloth to help contain the watery mess. She had fun.

More nature
We gave the kids a tour of our pumpkin patch and our garden. I was so glad to catch this gladiola in its prime. The praying mantis was an unexpected visitor. Unmistakable little guys.

Before we headed to the fair Emma got in some quality play time with her cousins.

Blue Ribbon Feet
Here they are. We made sure to stop by the exhibits last night before everything was picked up so you could see them. The second photo is a non-winner in the Portrait category. I didn't learn about the third photo until later. It's Emma with her buddies from the babysitter. This one won a blue ribbon for Mary's granddaughter, who was supposed to have taken it.

Rides of the night
Since we feel she should still be accompanied by an adult, there were few rides she could do. She did the carousel three times, the slide and the ferris wheel. Not too bad, really.